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Ahlam Ahmad al-Tamimi

February 4, 2020 Extremists

Born: 1980;

Place of Birth: Al-Zarqa, Jordan;

Gender: Female;

Nationality: Jordanian;

General Info:
Ahlam Ahmad al-Tamimi is a Jordanian national known for assisting in carrying out the Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing. She was convicted by an Israeli military tribunal and received multiple life sentences, but was released as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. She hosts a television show about Palestinians in Israeli prisons.

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.

Tamimi is the FBI’s most wanted female terrorist. She resides in Jordan where she fights against extradition to the United States for coordinating and directly aiding the August 9, 2001, Hamas suicide bombing of the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem that killed 15 people, including two Americans. Tamimi was the first female member of Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

Tamimi was a journalism student at Birzeit University in the West Bank. Her brother Mohamed, speculates that her fluency in English, and the fact that she did not wear a headscarf, made her less suspicious to Israeli officials.

Tamimi originates from Nabi Salih, a Palestinian village in the central West Bank. Ben Ehrenreich of The New York Times said that she was “much-loved in Nabi Saleh”.

Jerusalem bombing:
Tamimi placed an explosive device at a grocery store in Jerusalem in July 2001, which exploded, but did not cause damage.

Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing:
Tamimi 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.

She then had a second role reporting on the attack in the press, in her part-time journalism job.

Life sentences and release:
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.

Later activities:
During her time in the prison, she married her cousin Nizar, who was being held in a separate prison. She moved to Jordan immediately after her release. Her arrival there was attended by hundreds of people, including relatives, many Muslim Brotherhood supporters, and trade unionists and citizens. She later met with Hamas leader Khaled Mashal in Cairo, Egypt.

Tamimi hosts a Jordanian talk show, Nasim Al-Ahrar (Breeze of the Free), on the Hamas-affiliated Al-Quds TV. It deals with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera Tamini claimed that Israel had asked the “Russian mafia” to kill her and other Palestinian prisoners who were released in the Gilad Schalit prisoner exchange agreement, although she did not provide further details.

American Legal Proceedings:
On July 15, 2013, the U.S. Justice Department filed criminal charges in the District of Columbia against Tamimi for conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals outside the U.S., 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. There is a $5 million reward for her capture.

Tamimi is the first Islamic terrorist from the Arab League to face criminal prosecution in the United States and marks a stark about-face from American foreign policy under previous administrations.

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