A 66-year-old Evergreen Park woman who was convicted 43 years ago in Israel for participating in a terrorist bombing was arrested Tuesday morning by federal agents.
Rasmieh Yousef Odeh was arrested shortly after the unsealing of an indictment filed in federal court in Detroit and made an appearance in the afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Mason.
She was released on $15,000 bond after giving up her passports.
Odeh was charged with immigration fraud for concealing her arrest, conviction and imprisonment, which were material facts for the United States government in determining whether to grant her citizenship, the indictment said.
The indictment alleges that Odeh was convicted for her role in the 1969 bombings of a supermarket and the British Consulate in Jerusalem, which were carried out on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a designated terrorist organization.
Founded in the wake of the Six Day War of 1967, the organization is described as a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary group that was instrumental in the formation of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Odeh and others placed multiple bombs at the British Consulate and in a supermarket, according to the indictment. One of the bombs at the supermarket detonated, killing two Israelis and injuring 20 others. The other bomb did not detonate. The bomb at the Consulate four days later caused structural damage to the facility.
Odeh was arrested several days after the bombings and sentenced by Israeli military authorities to life imprisonment but was released after 10 years as part of a prisoner exchange, and she then returned to the West Bank.
The indictment alleges that Odeh, who was a Jordanian citizen, immigrated to the United States in 1995 and became a naturalized citizen in 2004.
“The United States will never be a safe haven for individuals seeking to distance themselves from their pasts,” said William Hayes, acting special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations Detroit in a news release. “When individuals lie on immigration documents, the system is severely undermined and the security of our nation is put at risk.”
“An individual convicted of a terrorist bombing would not be admitted to the United States if that information was known at the time of arrival,” United States Attorney Barbara McQuade said. “Upon discovery that someone convicted of a terrorist attack is in the United States illegally, we will seek to use our criminal justice system to remove that individual.”
If convicted of the charge, Odeh will be stripped of her United States citizenship. She also faces a maximum sentence of 10 years for naturalization fraud.
This case was investigated by special agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Odeh was mentioned in an article, “Women’s Struggle in Occupied Palestine,” which was published on the website New Jersey Solidarity: Activists for the Liberation of Palestine.”
The article said Odeh and other women “were arrested, accused of planning and executing two of the greatest military operations at that time: the explosion at the Supersol supermarket and the attempted explosion at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.”