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The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has placed a Jordanian woman who assisted in the 2001 suicide bombing of a Jerusalem pizza parlor on its “Most Wanted Terrorist” list. The Justice Department unveiled charges against Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi yesterday, who was jailed in Israel for eight years in the attack that killed 15, before gaining release in an Israeli prisoner swap with Hamas in 2011.
US authorities had hoped to have Tamimi extradited from Jordan but said they were frustrated by laws that ban extradition of Jordanian nationals. The Justice Department said Tamimi, now in her mid-30s, escorted a Hamas suicide bomber to Jerusalem on August 9, 2001, where he detonated a bomb, hidden inside a guitar, in a Sbarro pizza shop.
The bomb killed 15, including two Americans, and wounded another 122. After her capture, Tamimi pleaded guilty at trial and was sentenced in 2003 to 16 life prison terms. But she was released in 2011 in the prisoner swap. The US indictment unveiled yesterday charges her with “conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against US nationals outside the US, resulting in death.”
She faces a possible execution or life in prison if she is captured, tried and convicted in the United States. “Al-Tamimi is an unrepentant terrorist who admitted to her role in a deadly terrorist bombing that injured and killed numerous innocent victims,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord. “The charges unsealed today serve as a reminder that when terrorists target Americans anywhere in the world, we will never forget,” she said in a statement.