Sami Odeh holding a picture of his slain brother
Sami Odeh holding a picture of his slain brother
Erik Skindrud

Sami Odeh, Brother of Assassinated Arab-American Activist Alex Odeh, Passes Away

Another year is passing, and still no arrests have been made in the October 11, 1985 terrorist bombing in Santa Ana that killed Alex Odeh. The late Southern California Regional Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) had opened the door to his office that fateful morning when a pipe bomb exploded killing him.

Sami Odeh, a tireless advocate in the name of justice for his deceased brother, died away a week ago today after suffering from a long-term illness. He had lived and worked in Orange as a real estate broker.

"We regret that Sami Odeh never lived to see justice served," the ADC said in a statement on his passing, "but we are hopeful that Alex's case will be solved in the near future and justice will prevail."

The day after Odeh's death, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, upon the urging of the ADC, wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting an update on the investigation surrounding the killing of Alex Odeh. "To this day, no arrests have been made and no one has been held accountable for the attack," the lawmaker said. "Given the priority status of this case...I believe the Odeh family deserves closure."

In an Electronic Intifada article, Sami Odeh recalled rushing to the emergency room at Tustin Community Hospital that October day only to have to deliver the somber news to Alex Odeh's wife Norma and their three young daughters.

Odeh remained cautiously optimistic about the investigation into his brother's death. "I happen to believe that despite the enormous power that the Israeli state wields in this country, the American justice system will continue to push," he told the online website. "You have to understand that the FBI is up to their ears in cases. I know that the Israelis are making it tremendously difficult for them to do their job, but given enough time, I think they can finish it."

This October will mark the 28th anniversary of the bombing. In the meantime, funeral services for the Palestinian and Arab-American activist will be held on Saturday at St. Norbert Catholic Church in Orange. Surviving family members are asking that donations be made in lieu of flowers to St. Joseph Church in Jifna, Palestine with Sami Odeh's name on the memo line.

Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz

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