A young British woman has been stabbed and killed in Jerusalem in a frenzied attack by a 57-year old Palestinian while travelling on the city’s light railway on Good Friday.
Birmingham University exchange student Hannah Bladon, who began studying at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in January, was attacked with a kitchen knife by East Jerusalem resident Jamil Tamimi, who police said had mental health problems.
Medics from emergency service Magen David Adom treated her at the scene, but clinicians at Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus later announced that she had died from her injuries. She had been stabbed multiple times in the chest.
Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev tweeted: “My thoughts are with the family and friends of UK student Hannah Bladon, who was murdered in a senseless act of terror in Jerusalem today.”
The Hebrew University and the Rothberg International School said: “We express our deep sorrow over the murder of a British student, Hannah Bladon, in today’s attack. We extend our deepest condolences to her family and we share in their sorrow.
“The university condemns such acts of terror that harm innocent people, and especially a student who came to Jerusalem to study and widen her academic horizons.
Bladon came to Jerusalem as part of a student exchange programme at the end of January 2017 and had been to continue her studies until the end of the current term.
Jerusalem police commander Yoram Halevi said Tamimi had convictions for domestic violence and sexual assault against his daughter, and had been hospitalised through mental illness.
“We can say the terrorist is relatively old, 57 years of age,” Halevi said, whose force had deployed hundreds of additional officers over Passover. “He is very mentally unstable.”
Police officials added that he had recently been released from a psychiatric hospital, after trying to commit suicide earlier this year by swallowing a razor blade.
Israel’s internal intelligence agency Shin Bet said: “This is another case, out of many, where a Palestinian who is suffering from personal, mental or moral issues chooses to carry out a terror attack in order to find a way out of their problems.”
Tamimi was filmed being restrained and arrested at the scene in Tzahal Square, before being carried away by officers, as tourists and residents looked on.
Two other passengers, a 30-year old pregnant woman and a 50-year old man, were treated for light injuries, after the tram made an emergency stop.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said he was “filled with sadness” and that his thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family.
Superintendent Micky Rosenfeld said the attack, which took place near Tzahal Square, was carried out by an “Arab terrorist”.
Tweeting a photo of an apparently blood-stained knife, he said: “Arab Terrorist arrested who carried out attack is from Rasel Amud”, adding that security in the area had been increased.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We are in touch with local authorities following an incident in Jerusalem on April 14.”
The Board of Deputies of British Jews tweeted: “Our hearts go out to family of the British woman murdered by a terrorist in Jerusalem, an unholy attack as city marks Passover & Good Friday.”
The Jewish Leadership Council tweeted: “We are horrified to hear of the murder of a British tourist near Old City of Jerusalem at a time of faith and peace. Send deepest sympathies.”