WASHINGTON — The top Democratic and Republican members of the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee are asking the Trump administration for answers regarding the extradition to the United States of Ahlam al-Tamimi, a Palestinian who was involved in a terror attack in Jerusalem in 2001.
Tamimi is currently living in Jordan, and the local government there has so far denied the U.S. extradition request.
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The committee’s chairman, Rep. Jerry Nadler (Democrat of New York), and ranking member, Rep. Doug Collins (Republican of Georgia), wrote in a joint letter to the Justice Department that despite previous indications that legal action against Tamimi would move forward in the United States, no progress has been made since a criminal complaint against her was unsealed in 2017.
Tamimi was involved in the August 2001 “Sbarro bombing,” during which a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up inside a pizza restaurant in downtown Jerusalem. Fifteen people were killed in the attack, including two American citizens, and several Americans were injured. Tamimi was later arrested and put on trial in Israel for her role in the terror attack.
Following the trial, she was sentenced to 16 life terms in prison, but she was released in 2011 as part of the “Shalit deal.” The government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu released over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, in exchange for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from captivity in Gaza. Overall, she sat in jail for eight years. After her release Tamimi moved to Jordan, where she currently lives.
Nadler and Collins wrote in their joint letter to the Justice Department that “we understand that the government of Jordan has argued that a 1995 extradition treaty between the United States and Jordan is not in effect, and that Jordan’s constitution forbids the extradition of Jordanian nationals.” They asked the department to provide “information regarding the current status” of the efforts to “overcome these objections.”
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One of the victims of the terror attack was 15-year-old Malka Roth. Her mother, Frimet Roth, wrote in Haaretz in 2011 against the Netanyahu government’s decision to release Tamimi from prison as part of the Shalit deal. “Tamimi will board the bus to a free life in Jordan, when her own prediction of 2006 — ‘I will be free again’ — is realized. We feel desperate,” she wrote.