Sbarro terrorist added to FBI Most Wanted Terrorist list
For her role in the murders of two US citizens and the wounding of four others in a 2001 suicide bombing attack, the FBI and Justice Department have issued an arrest and extradition warrant against Tamimi; Jordanian government refuses to turn her over.
In light of the dubious honor, the United States government has issued the Jordanian government an extradition and arrest order for Tamimi.
Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Mary B. McCord, and Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office, Andrew Vale, made the announcement, in which they described Tamimi as an "unrepentant terrorist."
Tamimi, a Jordanian citizen, drove the suicide bomber, Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri, to the restaurant in Jerusalem after having scouted out the location.
Al-Masri, who was in possession of an explosive device packed with nails, nuts and bolts, detonated the bomb when the restaurant was at peak occupancy, killing 15 people and wounding 130 others.
For her role in the attack, Tamimi was sentenced to 16 life terms, but was released eight years later as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas.
After her release from prison, Tamimi became a television star in Jordan and symbol of the struggle against Israel.
In an interview with Hamas, Tamimi said, "It was a calculated act conducted with conviction and faith in Allah. A Jihad warrior is always ready for martyrdom, imprisonment or to succeed in the mission. I succeeded in overcoming prison and I was released—why should I be regretful?"
"Al-Tamimi is an unrepentant terrorist who admitted to her role in a deadly terrorist bombing that injured and killed numerous innocent victims," McCord said. "Two Americans were killed and four injured. The charges unsealed today serve as a reminder that when terrorists target Americans anywhere in the world, we will never forget—and we will continue to ensure that they are held accountable."
However, a Jordanian court has ruled that under Jordan's constitution, it is forbidden to extradite Jordanian nationals. In an effort to pressure the Jordanian government, Tamimi was added to the FBI's Most Wanted List.
In their statement, McCord and Vale noted that the maximum expected punishment, should Tamimi be found guilty in a US court of law, is life imprisonment or death.
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Shurat HaDin, who is representing the victims and their families, said, "The terrorist Ahlam Tamimi took part in the horrifying murder of civilians, including children, and did not pay for it. We opposed her release from Israeli prison and we expect her to stand trial before an American court, which will convict her. I certainly hope that the court will decide to act against her with the full force of the law."
(Translated and edited by Fred Goldberg)