U.S. Asserts Right to Extradite Sbarro Terrorist in Jordan

YERUSHALAYIM -

A State Department report that disputes Jordan’s contention that its extradition treaty with the U.S. is invalid could lead to renewed pressure to bring a notorious terrorist taking refuge in Jordan to justice in the U.S., Haaretz reported on Thursday.

Ahlam Tamimi – a Hamas terrorist who played a key role in the infamous Sbarro suicide bombing in a Yerushalayim eatery of that name in 2001 that killed 15 people, including two American citizens – has said that she “takes strength” from a Jordanian court ruling that nullified the extradition agreement.

Tamimi was convicted for her role in the attack and sentenced to 16 life terms in prison. However, in 2011 she was released from prison in the Shalit deal, in which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to release more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in return for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from Hamas captivity in Gaza.

Since her release from prison, families who lost their loved ones in the Sbarro attack have been fighting to extradite her to the United States, where the law provides for the prosecution of terrorists who killed American citizens abroad. Tamimi is also on the FBI’s most wanted terrorists list.

Shortly after the U.S. Department of Justice announced terrorist charges against her in 2017, Jordan’s highest court said that there was no legal mechanism for extradition to the U.S.

The new report published this week by the State Department states explicitly that the U.S. considers its extradition treaty with Jordan to be valid.