Trump administration indicates it would use financial pressure on Jordan to extradite Palestinian terrorist

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — For the first time, the U.S. government has explicitly said it would use financial pressure to bring about the extradition of the terrorist responsible for a 2001 mass killing in Israel that left two Americans dead.

The Trump administration’s choice for ambassador to Jordan said he would consider leveraging aid to the country to extradite Ahlam Tamimi to the United States. The reply to a Senate query by Henry Wooster would have been prepared with the assistance of the State Department.

Tamimi facilitated the bombing of the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem that killed 15 people, including Malki Roth, 15, and Judy Greenbaum, who was pregnant, 31.

The United States has sought Tamimi’s extradition for years, but the law allowing the State Department to leverage aid to demand extradition did not go into effect until late last year.

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Tamimi was sentenced to life in Israel but released in a prisoner exchange for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011. She has since become something of a celebrity in Jordan.

Roth’s parents have led an effort to make Tamimi face U.S. charges under American laws that allow the prosecution of terrorists who have harmed Americans overseas.

“We long for the day she faces justice in a U.S. court,” Roth’s father, Arnold, told The Times of Israel.

Tamimi is on the FBI’s list of “most wanted terrorists” for her role in the bombing.

The extradition of Tamimi is likely to come up when King Abdullah II speaks to several congressional committees via teleconference this week on the topic of Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank, which Jordan opposes.