Owner of Building That Burned Served Time for Links to Hamas
MILWAUKEE-The owner of the building that burned to the ground Wednesday morning, served time for activities with the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. As ABC News reported in 2003: "Although he is not on the list of "specially designated terrorists," Israeli and U.S. authorities say Jamil Sarsour helped to finance a string of suicide bus bombings in Israel, including one that killed two Americans." Sarsour pled guilty to aiding Hamas, served a multiple year sentence in Israel, and was deported to the United States. He was arrested in the US on a criminal complaint on December 27, 2002 and according to court records entered a plea deal that resulted in probation. At that time his wife told CBS 58 News, "He did not do anything against the law. Why would they take him?" Othman M. Atta, Esq. Executive Director of the Islamic Center and former attorney for Jamil Sarsour his former client owns the building and is the same Jamil Sarsour that was indicted in the US for terrorism ties and convicted and served time in Israel. Atta did not want to go on camera and, speaking as a friend of the family, said Wednesday's incident has no ties to his past and the family wants to move on from that. The family also issued the following statement: Our family members have been approached by members of the media regarding the terrible fire that broke out and totally destroyed the Vliet Street building owned by my brother Jamil Sarsour. Sadly, on the same day, a fire also broke out in the family home of another brother, Imad Sarsour, destroying his Oak Creek garage. Our family is absolutely certain that the two fires in properties owned by my two brothers were absolutely coincidental. There is no reason for us to believe that the fires were anything other than accidental or electrical in origin. We do not suspect anyone of setting the fires or targeting our family. Most importantly, we thank God that no one was hurt in either fire and that no firefighters were injured in putting out the fires. We wish to thank those from the fire and police departments who have assisting us in dealing with these unfortunate incidents.