The Trump administration says it could freeze aid money to Jordan over the Jordanian government’s refusal to extradite a wanted terrorist.
The US has for years demanded that Jordan extradite convicted terrorist Ahlam Tamimi, who is on the FBI’s most wanted list of terrorists for her role in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem which killed two Americans.
Tamimi, 39, was a college student at Birzeit University in 2001, when she was brought into a Hamas terror cell planning a bombing attack on central Jerusalem.
In July 2001, Tamimi bombed a Jerusalem grocery store, in an attack which failed to cause any casualties.
That August, Tamimi planned and aided in a suicide bombing targeting the Sbarro pizzeria in downtown Jerusalem which killed 15 people, including seven children and a pregnant woman.
An additional 130 people were injured in the bombing.
Tamimi was captured and sentenced to 16 consecutive life sentences after being found guilty.
In 2011, however, Tamimi was released as part of the deal which secured the release of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been taken captive by Hamas and held in the Gaza Strip.
Two of the victims killed in the Sbarro bombing attack were American citizens, prompting the FBI to add Tamimi to its list of top wanted terrorists following her release.
Tamimi today lives in Jordan, which has refused to arrest and extradite her to the US.
Now, however, the Trump administration is considering a wide range of possible actions to pressure Jordan into extraditing Tamimi.
According to a report by The Associate Press Tuesday, the Trump administration’s nominee to serve as ambassador to Jordan, Henry Wooster, confirmed that US aid to Jordan could be withheld as leverage to pressure the Hashemite kingdom into
“The United States has multiple options and different types of leverage to secure Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi’s extradition,” Wooster wrote in response to a question by Senator Ted Cruz during the confirmation process. “We will continue to engage Jordanian officials at all levels not only on this issue, but also on the extradition treaty more broadly. U.S. 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 U.S. interests in Jordan and in the region.”
When asked if aid to Jordan could be used as leverage in the Tamimi case, Wooster wrote: “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.”