On March 14, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Jordanian national Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi, was being charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals outside the U.S., resulting in death. The charge is related to her participation in the August 2001 suicide bomb attack at the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem that killed 15 people, including two U.S. nationals.
Al-Tamimi had been sent to prison in Israel in 2003 for 16 life sentences, but was released as part of a 2011 Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange. Since then she has lived in Jordan, whose constitution forbids extradition of Jordanian nationals.
The FBI also announced yesterday that Al-Tamimi has been placed on its list of Most Wanted Terrorists.
Following her release, she gave a series of interviews on Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV; in one, she recalled Palestinians' increasing delight at hearing, on the radio, about the rising death toll of the suicide bombing she had just helped carry out, and in another, she expressed her pride in her actions and said that she would "do it again today." Joy over the bombing was also expressed elsewhere in the Arab media, for example by Egyptian journalist Fahmi Huweidi (see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 265, I Cannot Hide My Happiness about the Martyrdom Operation that Took Place in Jerusalem. An Op-Ed in Egypt's Leading Government Daily, September 2, 2001).
Al-Tamimi, was also a guest, along with other Palestinian terrorists who had been released from Israeli prisons in prisoner exchanges, at the 2012 International Conference in Support of Palestinian Prisoners in the Jails of the Zionist Occupation in Tunisia, held under the auspices of Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki (see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5090, Al-Nahda Chairman Rached Al-Ghannouchi At Tunis Conference In Support Of Palestinian Prisoners: 'Allah, Grant Me Martyrdom At Jerusalem's Doorstep', December 13, 2012).
The following are the transcripts of the MEMRI TV clips of Tamimi's interviews:
MEMRI TV Clip No. 3539: Hamas Terrorist Ahlam Tamimi On Palestinians' Delight At Suicide Bombings: "Everybody Was Congratulating One Another... Everyone Was Happy"
Following are excerpts from an interview with Tamimi that aired on Hamas Al-Aqsa TV on July 12, 2012 (view the clip on the MEMRI TV website here).
Interviewer: "Sixteen Zionists were killed [in the suicide bombing you helped carry out]. Was the sound of the explosion...?"
Ahlam Tamimi: "It was very loud. The mujahid Abdallah Barghouti did a perfect job producing the guitar [containing the bomb], and the results amazed everybody, thanks to Allah.
"Afterwards, when I took the bus, the Palestinians around Damascus Gate [in Jerusalem's Old City] were all smiling. You could sense that everybody was happy. When I got on the bus, nobody knew that it was me who had led [the suicide bomber to the target]... I was feeling quite strange, because I had left [the bomber] 'Izz Al-Din behind, but inside the bus, they were all congratulating one another. They didn't even know one another, yet they were exchanging greetings.
While I was sitting on the bus, the driver turned on the radio. But first, let me tell you about the gradual rise in the number of casualties. While I was on the bus and everybody was congratulating one another, they said on the radio that there had been a martyrdom attack at the Sbarro restaurant, and that three people were killed. I admit that I was a bit disappointed, because I had hoped for a larger toll. Yet when they said 'three dead,' I said: 'Allah be praised.'"
Interviewer: "Was it an Israeli radio station or a Palestinian one?"
"Two minutes later, they said on the radio that the number had increased to five. I wanted to hide my smile, but I just couldn't. Allah be praised, it was great. As the number of dead kept increasing, the passengers were applauding. They didn't even know that I was among them.
"On the way back [to Ramallah], we passed a Palestinian police checkpoint, and the policemen were laughing. One of them stuck his head in and said: 'Congratulations to us all.' Everybody was happy."
MEMRI TV Clip #3157: Hamas Terrorist Ahlam Tamimi Takes Pride In The Number Of Casualties She Caused, Proclaims "I Would Do It Again Today"
Following are excerpts from an interview with Tamimi that was posted online on October 19. 2011 (view the clip on the MEMRI TV website here):
Interviewer: "If you could go back in time, would you carry out such a large-scale attack?"
Ahlam Tamimi: "Of course. I do not regret what happened. Absolutely not. This is the path. I dedicated myself to jihad for the sake of Allah, and Allah granted me success. You know how many casualties there were [in the 2001 attack on the Sbarro pizzeria]. This was made possible by Allah. Do you want me to denounce what I did? That's out of the question. I would do it again today, and in the same manner."