Saturday 29 April 2017

Young British tourist stabbed to death in Jerusalem: Everything we know so far

By Edward Dracott

The Good Friday stabbing victim has been named as Hannah Bladon.

A young British tourist was stabbed to death in Jerusalem on Good Friday.

The victim has been named as 20-year-old student Hannah Bladon – and here’s everything we know so far.

What happened?

Bladon was attacked while travelling on a train near the Old City of Israel’s capital. The train was packed as Christians marked Good Friday and Jews celebrated Passover.

She was attacked by a Palestinian man who pulled a knife from his bag and repeatedly stabbed her as the tram neared Jerusalem’s City Hall.

An off-duty policeman pulled an emergency brake and tried to intervene. Paramedics treated her at the scene and rushed her to hospital but she later died.

Who was the attacker?

Police detained a 57-year-old Palestinian man at the scene, and Superintendent Micky Rosenfeld said the attack was carried out by an “Arab terrorist” from Rasel Amud, in east Jerusalem.

Israeli intelligence services Shin Bet said the attacker had a history of mental illness, that he 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,” said Shin Bet.

What do we know about the victim?

Bladon had been on a religious studies course at Birmingham University. She had been on the exchange programme with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Rothberg International School since January studying classes in bible studies, archaeology and Hebrew.

The school said: “Her friends described her as an inquisitive and adventurous student who made the most of her opportunity to learn and experience life in Israel.

“Her family has been notified. All other Rothberg students are safe.”

What has the reaction been?

Mark Regev is Israel’s ambassador to the UK and he extended his condolences over Twitter to Bladon’s family and friends.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem where she had been studying said: “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.”

Reuven Rivlin, the president of Israel, also extended his condolences.

“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,” said Rivlin. “And so we will continue to do. Terror can never overcome us. Terror will never destroy our lives here.”

The Jewish Leadership council and the Board of Deputies of British Jews also paid their respects.

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