Celebrations held at home of released prisoner’s family

By Muath Freij

AMMAN – Hundreds of Jordanians flocked to Diwan Tamimi in west Amman’s Dahiyat Al Rashid neighbourhood on Wednesday to celebrate the release of Ahlam Tamimi.

The 31-year-old was the only Jordanian prisoner among the first group of 477 prisoners released in exchange for the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, according to Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mohammad Kayed.

“We have no idea if there will be Jordanian prisoners in the second group,” he told The Jordan Times over the phone yesterday.

Israel is releasing 1,027 Palestinians in exchange for Shalit in a two-stage operation that began on Tuesday. Under the deal, a further 550 will be liberated in the coming months. Some 5,000 Palestinians remain behind bars in Israel, according to news reports.

Tamimi, who was serving 16 life sentences for her alleged role in a suicide bombing at a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem in August 2001, arrived at Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport on Tuesday night, where she was greeted by hundreds of supporters.

A Jordanian national who was 21 when she was arrested, Tamimi was a reporter with local television and started out as a Fateh activist, before joining the armed wing of Hamas, according to news agencies.

Diwan Tamimi decided to hold a three-day celebration marking her release.

Hundreds of men, women and children flocked to the diwan to take part in the celebration, which included numerous speeches and a musical concert.

Fakhir Tamimi, Ahlam’s brother, expressed joy over her return.

“Our relatives and friends from Palestine arrived yesterday to take part in the celebration and spend some time with Ahlam,” he told The Jordan Times during the celebration.

Categories: Asia, Jordan, Palestine

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