Family of British Student Slain in Jerusalem Laments 'Senseless and Tragic' Attack

Hannah Bladon, who was studying archaeology and religion in Jerusalem, was stabbed to death by a mentally unstable Palestinian

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This undated image released Saturday, April 15, 2017 by the British Foreign And Commonwealth Office shows British tourist Hannah Bladon, who was stabbed to death in Jerusalem on Good Friday.
This undated image released Saturday, April 15, 2017 by the British Foreign And Commonwealth Office shows British tourist Hannah Bladon, who was stabbed to death in Jerusalem on Good Friday. Credit: /AP

The family of Hannah Bladon, the British student stabbed to death by a Palestinian in Jerusalem as she traveled on the light rail close to the Old City, described her killing as a "senseless" tragedy.

“Hannah was the most caring, sensitive and compassionate daughter you could ever wish for,” a statement by the family said.

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Bladon was in Israel as part of a student exchange program with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem as part of her religion, theology and archaeology studies at the University of Birmingham. Her murder took place as Jerusalem was was packed with Christians from around the world celebrating Good Friday and Jews enjoying Passover.

"Hannah was a talented musician, part of a serving team at her local church and a member of her local archaeological group. She was an enthusiastic rugby player and a keen Derby County supporter.

“She was driven and passionate and her death leaves so much promise unfulfilled. Our family are devastated by this senseless and tragic attack," her family said.

Gamil Tamimi, the man who allegedly carried out a deadly stabbing attack in Jerusalem on April 14, 2017.Credit: Emil Salman
Israeli policemen block a road where the light train passes following a stabbing attack just outside Jerusalem's Old City, according to Israeli police April 14, 2017.Credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS

Bladon, 20, was allegedly stabbed by Gamil Tamimi, 57, a Palestinian from East Jerusalem who police said had recently been released from a psychiatric hospital.

A psychiatric report said that he had grown increasingly aggressive and violent over the last month.

In a Facebook comment dated January 24, Bladon wrote, "Security is really tight on campus so no worries." The comment was made on a photograph she posted of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City.

In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied the attack to global Islamic terrorism.

Israel’s envoy to the U.K., Mark Regev, condemned the attack on Twitter.

“My thoughts are with the family and friends of U.K. student Hannah Bladon, who was murdered in a senseless act of terror in Jerusalem today,” he wrote.

According to the Hebrew Univeristy, Bladon started her studies in Jerusalem at the end of January. "We extend our deepest condolences to her family and we share in their sorrow," it said in a statement.

"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," it said.

The Israel Antiquities Authority, where she volunteered, sent "its deepest condolences to the Bladon family over the murder of their daughter, Hannah, in the stabbing attack that occurred on the light rail line in Jerusalem.

"Hannah recently volunteered in the IAA excavation at Wilson's Arch in the Western Wall tunnels, and was supposed to return to the excavation after the holiday. May her memory be a blessing."

Jerusalem's Hadassah Medical Center said the woman died soon after she was rushed there following the attack, despite efforts to save her.

President Reuven Rivlin said in a statement that he is "filled with sadness" over the violence and that Israel's "thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim."

He said, "this week thousands have come through the ancient gates of Jerusalem, to celebrate the feasts of Passover and Easter throughout the city - while the security forces work to ensure the safety of the dear residents and visitors to the city. And so we will continue to do," he said.

"Terror can never overcome us. Terror will never destroy our lives here."

The Shin Bet said the Palestinian had recently tried to commit suicide in hospital by swallowing a razor blade and that he was convicted of sexually abusing his daughter in 2011.

"This is not the first time that a Palestinian suffering from personal, mental or moral distress has chosen to commit a terrorist attack in order to escape his problems," it said in a statement.

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