Editor’s note: Below is the latest profile of Frontpage’s new series, “Voices of Palestine,” which will illuminate the core beliefs, in their own words, of leading figures in the Palestinian death cult. Click the following to view the profiles of Ahmad Bahr, Mahmoud al-Zahar, Ibrahim Mudayris, Yasser Ghalban, Haj Amin al-Husseini, Wafa al-Bis and Mahmoud Abbas.
In October 2011, Ahlam Tamimi, a female Jordanian who helped plan and assist in a horrific 2001 suicide bombing in Israel, was released from an Israeli jail as part of the Palestinian prisoner exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Tamimi had been serving 16 life sentences for her role in the August 9, 2001 suicide bombing of Sbarro’s pizzeria in Jerusalem, a suicide bombing that killed 15 Israelis and wounded over 130 others. Among the murdered victims were eight children, a pregnant woman and another woman who was left in a permanent coma.
At the time of the killing, Tamimi was a 20-year-old Jordanian national who lived in Ramallah, studied at Birzeit University, and worked as a television journalist. She was also the first woman to have been recruited by Hamas’ Izzadine el-Qassam, the military wing of Hamas that launched 138 suicide attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets during the al-Aqsa Intifada from 2000-2004, killing over 1,064 Israelis and wounding 7,462 others.
While Tamimi’s most visible role in the Sbarro operation was to transport the suicide bomber to the target, in reality she was intimately involved in its entire planning, including intelligence gathering, reconnaissance, and target selection.
Needless to say, Tamimi – whose fellow co-conspirator in the Sbarro bombing, Mohammad Daghlas, was also released as part of the prisoner swap – was ecstatic about her good fortune, declaring upon her release:
It’s a brilliant move of the Hamas negotiators to include my name in the swap deal although the Israeli military Courts recommended not to include my name in any prisoners swap in the future.
If anyone had entertained the idea that Tamimi’s ten years in prison may have engendered in her a feeling of remorse about her viscous actions, those ideas were quickly disabused in a television interview she gave in Jordan on October 19, 2011.
When asked by the interviewer if “she would carry out the attack today,” Tamimi defiantly responded:
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.
The manner by which Tamimi carried out the attack on Sbarro’s was both chilling in its details and terrifying in its effects.
As part of her intelligence gathering, Tamimi had picked Sbarro’s precisely because it was unguarded and would be filled with patrons, most of whom were children and young mothers.
Apparently, Tamimi’s choice satisfied Ezziddin Al-Masri, the operation’s suicide bomber. In a later interview after her arrest, Tamimi said the only question he had asked her was: “Will there be religious Jews there?” which she answered in the affirmative.
On the day of the attack, Tamimi escorted Al-Masri to the restaurant. In an attempt to pass inconspicuously as tourists, Tamimi and Al-Masri were dressed as Westerners and spoke English as they made their way by taxi from Ramallah into Jewish West Jerusalem.
When Tamimi dropped Al-Masri off at Sbarro’s, the human bomb then made his way into the restaurant carrying an explosive hidden inside a guitar case and packed with nails and screws to maximize the destruction.
Then, once the blast was detonated, Tamimi, who was working then as a broadcaster on Palestinian television, nonchalantly made her way past the carnage to her news station where she announced the attack on that afternoon’s broadcast, careful to not mention her own role in the assault.
However, in the ensuing years after her arrest on September 14, 2001, Tamimi was only more than happy to detail her role in the murderous act.
That fact was chillingly on display in a documentary made on Palestinian prisoners, in which Tamimi was asked whether she knew how many children had been killed in the Sbarro suicide attack. While she acknowledged that the exact number was unknown to her, when informed that eight children had died, Tamimi just smiled.
However, in a 2006 interview with an Israeli newspaper, Tamimi was more vocal about her feelings on her role in the suicide bombing when she declared:
Hamas has principles in connection with discussion with Israel. Hamas wants to reach accomplishments without giving up on Palestine. I’m not sorry for what I did. I will get out of prison and I refuse to recognize Israel’s existence. Discussions will only take place after Israel recognizes that this is Islamic land. Despite the fact that I’m sentenced to 16 life sentences I know that we will become free from Israeli occupation and then I will also be free from the prison.
Unfortunately, Tamimi’s belief proved prophetic, as today she is not only free but celebrated as a hero in Jordan. That sad fact was clearly evident when Tamimi was greeted upon her return to Jordan by hundreds of supporters waving Palestinian flags and Hamas banners at the Amman airport.
Of course, the crowd’s reaction should cause little surprise given that many Palestinians have a special fondness for those involved in the Sbarro massacre. After all, six weeks after the deadly blast, a triumphal exhibit at Al Najah University in the West Bank featured a model of Sbarro’s including a special feature of chewed pizza crusts and bloody plastic body parts suspended from the ceiling as if they were blasting through the air.
While Tamimi openly thanked the joyous welcoming crowd for its support, she was quick to point out that not all was well as some of her terrorist compatriots still remained behind bars in Israeli jails:
The message of the Palestinian people is: liberate Palestine and the Aqsa Mosque. By Allah Ibrahim Hamed, Mahmoud Isa, Hasan Salameh, Abu Al-Heija and Al-Barghouthi are more deserving to be in my place [free].
So, while Tamimi may feel pain at not being reunited with some of her terrorist brethren, all is not gloom in her life. According to her father, Arif Tamimi, Ahlam is looking forward to her upcoming marriage to a released prisoner from the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap.
Unlike the victims of Sbarro’s whose lives were terminally interrupted by a suicide bomb tearing their bodies apart, for Ahlam Tamimi, life goes merrily on.
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.
Leave a Reply