The United States Department of Justice announced on Tuesday that it filed an extradition request with Jordan for a Palestinian terrorist who helped carry out the 2001 Sbarro massacre in Jerusalem, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The subject of the request, Ahlam Tamimi, has previously admitted to picking the location for the lethal attack on behalf of Hamas, as well as transporting Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri to the pizzeria on August 9, 2001. Al-Masri detonated 5 to 10 kilograms of explosives — packed with nails, screws, and bolts to ensure maximum damage — in the crowded restaurant, killing 15 civilians, including seven children and a pregnant woman, and injuring 130 more.
Two of those killed, Malka Roth and Shoshana Yehudit (Judy) Greenbaum, were American citizens. Several Americans were also wounded in the attack, including Chana Nachenberg, who remains in a coma more than 15 years later.
Tamimi was arrested by Israel and sentenced in 2003 to 16 consecutive life sentences and 15 additional years in prison, but was one of the more than one thousand Palestinian terrorists released in a 2011 prisoner exchange to free Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was kidnapped by Hamas in 2006.
She was resettled in Jordan, where she became the host of a Hamas television show. Tamimi has never shown remorse for her actions, and described in a 2012 interview her delight and that of fellow Palestinians on hearing the death toll from the bombing. The New York Times reported in 2013 that she remains “much-loved in Nabi Saleh,” the West Bank town where she grew up.
“We are glad that the US Department of Justice has decided to move forward against this notorious mass murderer,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, president of the NGO Shurat Hadin, which represents Chana Nachenberg’s family. “We have been requesting for a long time that this unrepentant Palestinian terrorist be rearrested, extradited and prosecuted by American law enforcement officials.”
“It was outrageous that Israel released this criminal with so much innocent blood on her hands and who has publicly rejoiced that she killed 8 Jewish children. For too long Jordan has become a safe haven for Palestinian terrorists and, hopefully, this is a change of policy for the new Trump administration, to start to pursue the numerous Palestinians who have killed US citizens in Israel,” Darshan-Leitner continued.
Nachenberg’s father, Yitzhak Bennett Finer, applauded the Justice Department’s efforts to extradite Tamimi. “Our daughter Chana Nachenberg had the prime of her life taken from her because she has spent the past 15 and half years in a vegetative state on a respirator as a result of this inhuman act of the heinous bombing of Sbarros,” he said. “Her daughter Sarah has grown up without a mother and her husband David without the love of his wife.”
It isn’t certain whether Jordan will honor the extradition request. While the Hashemite Kingdom has a peace treaty with Israel and is a strong ally of the U.S., the majority of its population is Palestinian.
The Post reported that a delegation of Justice Department prosecutors recently visited Israel and met with both law enforcement officials and terror victims in order to build support for the extradition request.
Tamimi’s 2012 interview, in which she boasted of her role in the massacre and the positive reaction of the Palestinian public, is embedded below.
[Photo: Arutz-7 / YouTube ]