Palestinian man charged with murder of British student Hannah Bladon
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Palestinian man charged with murder of British student Hannah Bladon

Court asked to keep Jamil Tamimi in custody for duration of trial for stabbing attack on Jerusalem train

Jamil Tamimi, 57, who stabbed and killed Hannah Bladon on the Jerusalem Light Rail is brought into the Jerusalem District Court on May 11, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Jamil Tamimi, 57, who stabbed and killed Hannah Bladon on the Jerusalem Light Rail is brought into the Jerusalem District Court on May 11, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Prosecutors on Thursday indicted a Palestinian man at the Jerusalem District Court for the murder of a British exchange student in a stabbing attack on Jerusalem’s light rail last month.

In the terror attack, Jamil Tamimi allegedly stabbed to death 21-year-old Hannah Bladon, who was in Israel as part of a study abroad program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

According to the indictment, the 57-year-old Tamimi, who has a history of mental problems and had previously attempted suicide, set out on the morning of April 14 from a hostel in the northern Arab-Israeli village of Kaukab Abu al-Hija for Jerusalem, where he purchased a knife.

Tamimi, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amoud, had called his sons that day and sought to visit them at the family’s home, but was rebuffed and told that the family wanted no contact with him, in part because he had been convicted of sexually abusing his daughter.

At this point, he is alleged to have decided to carry out a stabbing attack.

Police at the scene where Hannah Bladon, 21, a British exchange student, was killed in a stabbing attack on Jerusalem's light rail near IDF square in Jerusalem, on April 14, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) Inset: Hannah Bladon. (Courtesy)
Police at the scene where Hannah Bladon, 21, a British exchange student, was killed in a stabbing attack on Jerusalem’s light rail near IDF square in Jerusalem, on April 14, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) Inset: Hannah Bladon. (Courtesy)

After boarding the light rail, Tamimi spotted Bladon, whom he chose as his victim because she appeared an easy target, the indictment alleges.

With her back turned, Tamimi leaped at her and stabbed her seven times. Bladon managed to break free from her assailant, but collapsed on the floor of the light rail car.

Within seconds, Tamimi was wrestled to the ground by an off-duty police officer and another passenger aboard the train.

Despite attempts to save her, Bladon died from her wounds an hour later at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus.

Prosecutors requested on Thursday that Tamimi be held in custody for the duration of the trial, saying that the preponderance of evidence against him and the severity of the crime warranted his continued remand.

The indictment against Tamimi came after he was found fit to stand trial by a psychiatrist at the Jerusalem district of the state prosecution last month. Tamimi had checked himself out of the Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center the day before the attack.

Following the attack, Tamimi told investigators that he attacked Bladon because he wanted to die and hoped the soldier who was standing next to her on the train would kill him, Channel 2 reported, describing the killing as “an attempted suicide attack.”

Hannah Bladon, an English student who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in Jerusalem on April 14, 2017. (UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
Hannah Bladon, an English student who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in Jerusalem on April 14, 2017. (UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

Israeli TV reported that Bladon was standing by the exit doors of the train, near to Tamimi, because she had given up her seat to a woman who was holding a baby.

In a statement after the attack, her family in the UK said Bladon “was the most caring, sensitive and compassionate daughter you could ever wish for.”

Bladon had been studying religion, theology and archaeology at the University of Birmingham since 2015. As part of her studies she began a program at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University in January, which she was set to complete in September.

Her family said she was on her way back from an archaeological dig when she was killed.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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