Vijaya Laxmi Tripura
Jordanian royals are not only giving shelter to notorious criminals and terrorists like Ahlam Tamimi. Her aliases include Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi, Ahlam Arafat Mazin Al Tamimi, Halati and Khalti; the FBI and State Department have reported her name as Ahlam Ahmad al-Tamimi. She helped plan and participated in the Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing, which caused 145 casualties, including 15 fatalities, half of them children. She was 20 years old at the time, and still in university. After driving and dropping off the suicide bomber at his target, she reported on the bombing on a Palestinian news channel.
On 9 August 2001, Tamimi escorted suicide bomber Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri to the Sbarro restaurant. She used disguise techniques to deflect attention from herself and al-Masri, wearing a dress that made her appear more like a “Jewish tourist” than an Arab, and using language skills gained in her journalism studies. While al-Masri died in the attack as intended, Tamimi left the area before the bomb detonated.
After hearing an initial report that “three people were killed” in the bombing, Tamimi stated: I admit that I was a bit disappointed because I had hoped for a larger toll. Yet when they said “three dead,” I said: ‘Allah be praised’…Two minutes later, they said on the radio that the number had increased to five. I wanted to hide my smile, but I just couldn’t. Allah be praised, it was great. As the number of dead kept increasing, the passengers were applauding.
Frimet Roth, the mother of one of Tamimi’s murder victims, has criticized her release. She said when Tamimi was released along with hundreds of other convicted murderers in exchange for a single Israeli soldier, it felt as if her daughter was murdered all over again.
In subsequent interviews, Tamimi commented that she was not sorry for what she had done, and does not recognize Israel’s existence. “Despite the fact that I’m sentenced to 16 life sentences I know that we will become free from Israeli occupation and then I will also be free from the prison,” she said. Reportedly, when she first learned from a journalist who was interviewing her in jail that she had murdered eight children, not just three as she had initially believed, she just smiled broadly and continued with the interview.
Following her release from prison, Tamimi gave an interview with the Jordanian Ammon News website, which was later posted on YouTube:
“I do not regret what happened. Absolutely not. This is the path. I dedicated myself to Jihad for the sake of Allah, and Allah granted me success. You know how many casualties there were [in the 2001 attack on the Sbarro pizzeria]. This was made possible by Allah. Do you want me to denounce what I did? That’s out of the question. I would do it again today, and in the same manner”.
She has also expressed satisfaction at the sizable death count, including those of the children, and her earlier disappointment when initial reports stated lower counts.
She was imprisoned for her role in the events but was released in an October 2011 prisoner swap for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. At a military tribunal sitting at the Ofer military camp, Tamimi had received 16 consecutive life sentences and an additional 15 years in prison.
On July 15, 2013, the US Justice Department filed criminal charges in the District of Columbia against Tamimi for conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against US nationals outside the US, resulting in death. The criminal complaint was unsealed on March 14, 2017. Jordanian courts ruled that Tamimi could not be extradited, as the Jordanian parliament has not ratified the extradition treaty with the United States yet.
Tamimi is the first Islamic terrorist from the Arab League to facing criminal prosecution in the United States and marks a stark about-face from American foreign policy under previous administrations.
According to information, Jordanian royals are not only ignoring requests from the United States in extraditing Ahlam Tamimi, they also are giving refuge and state-protection to several notorious members of Hamas and even Muslim Brotherhood.