Convicted Palestinian terrorist obtained U.S. citizenship

The terrorist was convicted by Israel in 1991 and was imprisoned for four years, but has managed to live in the US since 1999, becoming a citizen in 2008.

April 25, 2019 22:57
2 minute read.
A man enters the headquarters of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), in Ramallah Septembe

A man enters the headquarters of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), in Ramallah September 10, 2018. (photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)


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A Palestinian terrorist convicted of attempting to bomb an Israeli bus managed to obtain US citizenship, according to a report from CNN.

This would apparently be the second time a convicted terrorist became a US citizen after the 9/11 attacks. In 2017, Rasmeah Odeh was convicted of illegaly obtaining US citizenship, after lying about her involvement in two terror bombings in Israel. One of those bombings killed two people.

Documents from the court file of Vallmoe Shqaire, a Jordanian-born Palestinian, indicate that he was trained by the Palestinian Liberation Organization in the use of rifles and grenades, as well as in bomb-making.

Shqaire and an accomplice tried to blow up an Israeli bus in 1988, according to the court records, though while they managed to detonate a bomb within range of a bus, the attack did not cause any injuries.

He was later caught by Israeli forces and given a ten-year prison sentence in 1991, but released after four years following agreements as part of the Oslo peace accords.

Shqaire would go on to assert that his confessions were coerced by the IDF as he was beaten during interrogations, and was subjected to alternately freezing or extremely hot showers and made to live in a small cell where it was impossible for him to stand up or stretch out his legs. US prosecutors wrote that his allegations were not supported by Israeli records.

Shqaire managed to enter the US on a visitor's visa in 1999, and proceeded to get married to a US citizen in order to obtain a green card. They divorced in 2002, but he remarried the same year, after which he was able to become a permanent resident. He never mentioned his previous arrest or any involvement with terrorist groups to immigration authorities.

In 2008, he recieved full US citizenship.

Over the following decade, federal authorities investigated Shqaire for suspicious money transfers to Ramallah in the West Bank. While he was never charged in connection with these transfers, he was eventually convicted in a different context of credit card fraud, was jailed for four months and placed on five years' probation.

However, investigations continued into his past, and he was charged in October 2018 for unlawful procurement of US citizenship. The government knew of Shqaire's Israeli court conviction already in 2013, which has caused some to question why it took authorities another five years to arrest him.

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