The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) placed a Jordanian woman, who assisted in the 2001 suicide bombing of a Jerusalem restaurant, on its “Most Wanted Terrorist” list on Tuesday.
The charge against Ahlam Ahmad al-Tamimi, now in her mid-30s, stemmed from an Aug. 9, 2001 bombing at a Sbarro restaurant that killed 15 people, including two Americans, and injured 122 others.
The US indictment unveiled Tuesday charged her with “conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against US nationals outside the US, resulting in death.”
She could face a possible execution or life in prison if she is captured, tried and convicted in the United States.
“The charges unsealed serve as a reminder that when terrorists target Americans anywhere in the world, we will never forget – and we will continue to seek to ensure that they are held accountable,” a statement issued by the US Justice Department said.
The Justice Department unveiled charges against Tamimi, who was jailed in Israel for eight years in the attack that killed 15, before gaining release in an Israeli prisoner swap with Hamas in 2011.
After her capture, Tamimi pleaded guilty at trial and was sentenced in 2003 to 16 life prison terms.
The department said it will continue to work “with its foreign partners to obtain custody of al-Tamimi,” although Jordanian courts had ruled against the extradition of Jordanian nationals.
In its refusal of America’s request, Jordan’s government cited a domestic court ruling that forbids the extradition of Jordanian nationals under the Hashemite Kingdom’s constitution.
Jordan’s constitution says in Article 21(1) that “political refugees shall not be extradited on account of their political beliefs or for their defense of liberty.”
Despite that the US has an extradition treaty with Jordan from 1995, yet Jordan did not approve it.
Tamimi is currently a TV host in Jordan, where she has interviewed fellow Hamas militants, and has bragged about her involvement in the murder of other Israelis and the Palestinian resistance against Israel.
For her part, Israel Law Center President Nitsana Darshan-Leitner welcomed the Justice Department’s move.
“We are glad that the US Department of Justice has decided to move forward against this notorious mass murderer,” Darshan-Leitner said.
“We have been requesting for a long time that this unrepentant Palestinian terrorist be rearrested, extradited and prosecuted by American law enforcement officials.”
By Mohammed Saleh al-Melhim and Mohammed al-Daameh
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