US considers using aid to force Jordan authorities to extradite J’lem terrorist
The United States is considering withholding aid to Jordan in an attempt to force through the extradition of a terrorist wanted in connection with a terrorist attack that killed American citizens, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
Ahlam Aref Ahmad al-Tamimi helped plan and aided the Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing in Jerusalem during the Second Intifada which caused 145 casualties including 15 fatalities. Two of the fatalities were American nationals.
The Trump administration said it is weighing “all options” to pressure Jordan into extraditing Tamimi, AP reported. She is wanted on a charge of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against American nationals.
Tamimi, who is on the FBI’s “most wanted” list, was tried and sentenced by an Israeli Military Court to multiple life sentences, but was later released under the 2011 prisoner swap agreement Israel made with Hamas to secure the release of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. She moved to Jordan after her release and has lived in freedom ever since.
She counters that because she was tried and convicted under Israeli law, she cannot be charged with a crime against the US, stated AP.
Deputy assistant secretary for the Maghreb and Egypt and touted potential future US ambassador to Jordan, Henry Wooster, wrote to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in response to questions posed by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, AP reported, writing that, “The United States has multiple options and different types of leverage to secure Ahlam Aref Ahmad al-Tamimi’s extradition.”
“We will continue to engage Jordanian officials at all levels not only on this issue, but also on the extradition treaty more broadly,” Wooster wrote. “US generosity to Jordan in Foreign Military Financing as well as economic support and other assistance is carefully calibrated to protect and advance the range of US interests in Jordan and in the region.”
Jordan’s King Abdullah is also expected to bring up the issue when he speaks to US congressional committees over Israel’s plans to annex portions of the West Bank in July.
When asked if the “leverage” he was referring to could include aid to the Middle Eastern nation, Wooster replied, “If confirmed, I would explore all options to bring Ahlam Aref Ahmad al-Tamimi to justice, secure her extradition, and address the broader issues associated with the extradition treaty,” AP wrote.