Jordan Refuses to Extradite Palestinian Terrorist Who Killed Americans

The kingdom of Jordan has rejected the United States’ request to extradite a Palestinian terrorist who was involved in a 2001 Jerusalem suicide bombing that killed two American citizens, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday, citing Jordanian media.

The U.S. Justice Department unsealed a criminal complaint on Tuesday against Ahlam Tamimi, who currently resides in Jordan, for “conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals outside the U.S., resulting in death.”

Tamimi has previously admitted to picking the location for the 2001 Sbarro massacre on behalf of the Islamist terrorist group Hamas, as well as transporting the bomber, Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri, to the site. Al-Masri detonated 5 to 10 kilograms of explosives in the crowded pizzeria, killing 15 civilians, including seven children, and injuring 130 more.

Among the dead was Malka Roth, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, as well as Shoshana Yehudit (Judy) Greenbaum, a 31-year-old teacher from New Jersey who was five months pregnant at the time. Four other 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.

According to the Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad, Jordanian authorities said that her extradition was “not permissible” since Jordan does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S., and because she was already tried in Israel.

Jordanian sources who spoke to Israel’s Channel 2 noted Thursday that an extradition treaty was signed between Washington and Amman in 1995, but was never approved by the Jordanian parliament.

Jordanian parliamentarian Saleh Armouti not only justified the rejection of the extradition request, but also released a statement in defense of Tamimi. “[It was] the legitimate right of the liberated prisoner Ahlam Tamimi [to] resist the occupier, as the United Nations laws stipulate the right to self-determination, as ruled [by] international legitimacy [as] the right to resist the occupation,” he said.

[Photo: David Bjorgen / Wikimedia]