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Chicago woman hid terrorist past on citizenship application, say feds

A Chicago-area woman has been charged with immigration fraud for failing to tell U.S. authorities that she took part in a deadly terror bombing in Israel, federal prosecutors in Detroit said Tuesday.

Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, 66, was sentenced to life in prison by Israeli authorities for placing multiple bombs at the British Consulate and a supermarket in Jerusalem in 1969 on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. One of the supermarket bombs killed two people, while the explosives placed at the consulate caused only structural damage.

Odeh was released after 10 years as part of a prisoner exchange and returned to the West Bank, according to the indictment. She immigrated to the U.S. and became a citizen in 2004. In her immigration documents, say prosecutors, she failed to disclose her arrest, conviction and imprisonment in Israel. Odeh was arrested Tuesday in suburban Chicago.

“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,” said Barbara McQuade, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.

“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 in Detroit. “When individuals lie on immigration documents, the system is severely undermined and the security of our nation is put at risk.”

If convicted, Odeh will be stripped of her citizenship. She also faces up to 10 years in prison for naturalization fraud.

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