Politics

US makes 1st extradition request for Hamas terrorist who killed Americans – Arab-Israeli Conflict

Interview with convicted terrorist Ahlam Tamimi. Credit: Palestinian Media Watch


Late Tuesday, 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.

The request is also a landmark request bound to cause commotion for who it addresses and is addressed to.

The request is addressed to Jordan to extradite Ahlam Tamimi, who was in Israeli jails for multiple murders connected to the Sbarro Pizza August 9, 2001 suicide bombing,  but was, highly controversially, released in the 2011 Gilad Schalit prisoner exchange.

15 civilians were killed in the midday attack, including 7 children and a pregnant woman, and 130 wounded. Tamimi scouted for a target before leading the bomber,  Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri, to the Sbarro restaurant. They arrived just before 2:00 pm, when the restaurant was filled with customers, dozens of women, children and babies, and pedestrian traffic outside was at its peak.

Tamimi departed before Al-Masri, thought to be carrying a rigged guitar case or wearing an an explosive vest weighing 5 to 10 kilograms of  explosives, nails, nuts and bolts, detonated his bomb.

She is currently a television host in Jordan, has hosted Hamas arch-terrorist Saleh Arouri (who ordered the kidnapping of three Jewish teenagers in June 2014), bragged of her involvement in others murders of Israelis and is considered as a symbol of the Palestinians fight.

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.

 According to Shurat HaDin President Nitsana Darshan-Leitner:  “We are glad that the US Department of  Justice has decided to move forward against this notorious mass murderer.  We have been requesting for a long time that this unrepentant Palestinian terrorist be rearrested, extradited and prosecuted by American law enforcement officials.”

“It was outrageous that Israel released this criminal with so much innocent blood on her hands and who has publicly rejoiced that she killed 8 Jewish children.  For too long Jordan has become a safe haven for Palestinian terrorists and, hopefully, this is a change of policy for the new Trump administration, to start to pursue the numerous Palestinians who have killed US citizens in Israel,” she said.

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.”

Recently, a delegation of Department of Justice prosecutors visited Israel to meet with law enforcement officials and American families of the terrorist victims as part of efforts to promote the case.

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