Now living in Jordan, Ahlam Tamimi is a hero to Palestinians and murderer of 15, including 2 Americans.
The 2001 Sbarro Pizzeria suicide bombing in Jerusalem for me has been one of the place markers in the history of terrorism, one of those reference points which changed everything.
Other such “before and after” points, to me, are the 1972 Munich Massacre of Israeli athletes (1972); the bombing of the Beirut Marine Barracks (1983), the World Trade Center attacks (1993 and 2001); and the videotaped beheading of Daniel Pearl, February 1, 2002.
We have written many times about the Sbarro bombing, you can view them all in our Sbarro Pizzeria Bombing tag.
I particularly call your attention Prof. Miriam Elman’s comprehensive post in August 2016, Never forget: Sbarro Pizzeria Massacre, Jerusalem, Aug. 9, 2001:
On this day 15 years ago, a Hamas terror gang based in the West Bank executed a bombing attack on a busy restaurant in the center of Jerusalem. In the horrific act of savagery 15 people were killed, including 7 children.
Two U.S. citizens were among those murdered. Four additional Americans were wounded — one severely.
In total, some 130 were injured with varying degrees of severity by the “human bomb” and his team of accomplices.
The mastermind was Ahlam Tamimi, relative of Bassem Tamimi, and a hero to this day in her home village of Nabi Saleh where international activists still protest the security barrier constructed in response to the Sbarro and dozens of other suicide bombings….
Among those killed in the bomb blast were two American citizens: Judith L. Greenbaum (31) of New Jersey (who was pregnant at the time) and Malka (nicknamed Malki) Roth (15) who lived with her family in Jerusalem….
Four other Americans—David Danzig, Matthew Gordon, and Joanne (Chana) and Sarah Nachenberg—were also injured.
Chana Nachenberg—a mother whose only child Sarah was then two-years-old—is still in a vegetative state today, never having regained consciousness. You can read her daughter Sarah’s moving words about her Mom here.
Ahlam Tamimi is a human monster, a ghoul who took pleasure not only in the killing children, but expressed even greater joy when she discovered that more children were killed than she previously thought:
She specifically targeted religious Jews:
Ahlam was released in the Gilad Shalit exchange in October 2011, and went to Jordan, where she continues to revel in her role in the bombing and how she hoped for even more to die:
The Jerusalem Post reports today that the U.S. Justice Department has filed criminal charges against Ahlam, and is seeking her extradition from Jordan:
Late Tuesday [Israeli time], the US Department of Justice was in the process of announcing its first ever extradition request to try a Hamas terrorist who murdered Americans during the Second Intifada in its own courts.
Prior to US President Donald Trump taking office, the only legal proceedings against such terrorists have been criminal proceedings in Israeli courts or civil wrongful death proceedings brought by the families of victim, not by the US government, in US courts….
Jordan may have a tough call to make, honoring its strong alliance to the US, with trying to avoid offending its majority Palestinian population and an anti-extradition trend in its court system, according to Shurat Hadin which is representing the family of the victim Chana Nachenberg (Finers and Nachenbergs) who was grievously injured in the bombing and remains in Israel in a coma even until now.
It is not clear if the request has already been made, or is just in the process of being made. [See Update below, criminal complaint has been unsealed.]
The family of Chana Nachenberg provided a statement to the Jerusalem Post:
Chana Nachenberg’s father, Yitzhak Bennett Finer, has responded: “We applaud the efforts of the Department of Justice in trying to bring Tamimi to justice and we hope they’ll be successful. 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. Her daughter Sarah has grown up without a mother and her husband David without the love of his wife.”
Malki Roth’s parents, Frimet and Arnold Roth, went on to establish an organization for special needs children—the Malki Foundation (Keren Malki)—dedicated to the memory of their daughter. Their website and blog, This Ongoing War, is also an important resource for those who study jihadist terrorism and counter-terrorism efforts.Malki’s father Arnold provided this statement to Legal Insurrection:
“My wife and I were aware from about 2005 of efforts to have the mastermind of the Sbarro pizzeria massacre released on one spurious basis or another. Our daughter Malki was murdered there at the age of 15. We wrote and spoke against the idea of convicted terrorists being released early dozens of times and in several countries. Then in 2011 the Shalit Deal took shape. Israel catastrophically gave in to Hamas’ demands and Ahlam Tamimi’s name was in the walk-free list.
We were shattered. Even before the deal was done, we predicted what this might mean and, in the years since then, most of what we feared has come to pass. In fact, in some ways, the reality has been even worse than that.
We first approached the Department of Justice via a personal meeting with a large group of its senior people in Washington some months after the Shalit Deal was done. That was in early 2012. We asked for Tamimi to be brought up on charges in the United States. Our daughter was a US citizen, and the Koby Mandell Act requires US authorities in such situations to go after the terrorists wherever they are and bring them to court to face US justice
Five years later, it’s apparent that a sealed complaint was already been filed with a Washington DC court within about a year of that first meeting and prior to several subsequent meetings we had with them. We got vague messages that expressed support for what we wanted but no actionable information. We were immensely frustrated. We have a better understanding of why things were done that way.
It’s evident as of today that the government’s lawyers are seriously intent on pursuing the Tamimi prosecution, and have been making vigorous efforts in secret. The obstacle is clear: Tamimi lives in Jordan where she was born, where most of her family lives and where the vast majority of the population call themselves Palestinians. The government of Jordan does not want to see her extradited. Our understanding is they are not co-operating with DoJ’s efforts.
This is about justice in the truest sense of the word. When it affects others and not you, justice can seem an abstract notion. But it’s not an abstraction. Civilized societies cannot function when justice is trampled.
We know there is more work to be done.”
UPDATE: DOJ has officially announced the unsealing of a criminal complaint, which would be necessary for an extradition request. It reads in part:
A criminal complaint was unsealed today charging Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi, also known as “Khalti” and “Halati,” a Jordanian national in her mid-30s, with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals outside the U.S., resulting in death. The charge is related to the defendant’s participation in an Aug. 9, 2001, suicide bomb attack at a pizza restaurant in Jerusalem that killed 15 people, including two U.S. nationals. Four other U.S. nationals were among the approximately 122 others injured in the attack. Also unsealed today was a warrant for Al-Tamimi’s arrest and an affidavit in support of the criminal complaint and arrest warrant. The criminal charge had been under seal since July 15, 2013.
Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord, U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips for the District of Columbia and Assistant Director in Charge Andrew Vale of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.
“Al-Tamimi is an unrepentant terrorist who admitted to her role in a deadly terrorist bombing that injured and killed numerous innocent victims. Two Americans were killed and four injured. The charges unsealed today 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,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord. “I want to thank the many dedicated agents and prosecutors who have worked on this investigation.”
“We have never forgotten the American and non-American victims of this awful terrorist attack,” said U.S. Attorney Phillips. “We will continue to remain vigilant until Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi is brought to justice.”
“Al-Tamimi is a terrorist who participated in an attack that killed United States citizens,” said Assistant Director in Charge Vale. “The bombing that she planned and assisted in carrying out on innocent people, including children, furthered the mission of a designated terrorist organization. The FBI continues to work with our international partners to combat terrorists like Al-Tamimi and hold them accountable.”
Ahlam now is on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List: