Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin offered their condolences on Friday to the family of the British woman murdered in a terror attack in Jerusalem earlier in the day, later identified as Hannah Bladon, 21, an exchange student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
In a statement, Netanyahu said, “In the name of all the people of Israel, I offer condolences to the family of the murdered girl.”
“Radical Islamic terrorism strikes in capital cities across the world,” he said in reference to a spate of attacks in Sweden, Britain and other countries. “Unfortunately, it struck today in the capital of Israel, Jerusalem.”
Rivlin said he was “filled with sadness” over the killing, adding that “Terror can never overcome us. Terror will never destroy our lives here.”
Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, also issued his condolences and said the Palestinian Authority “must be held accountable,” in a tweet Friday.
MK Avi Dichter (Likud), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and a former head of the Shin Bet, said the attack, which came as Jews across the world mark Passover and Christians mark Good Friday, was “painful and sad.”
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog wrote on Facebook that it was a “sad day” as “another life was lost” in a “difficult terror attack.” He too sent his condolences to the family of the woman killed in the attack, a British student in her early 20s visiting the country as a tourist.
The Board of Deputies, the umbrella organization of British Jewry, said on Twitter: “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.”
Bladon was stabbed to death with a kitchen knife while riding on Jerusalem’s light rail mid-day Friday, officials said. An off-duty police officer and a passer-by wrestled the terrorist, a Palestinian man from East Jerusalem, to the ground before he could harm anyone else.
Two other people were lightly injured when the tram made an emergency stop.
Medics from the Magen David Adom ambulance service carried out CPR on Bladon at the scene before taking her to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus for treatment. She was brought to the hospital in critical condition, with multiple stab wounds to the upper body, a medic said.
She died of her wounds shortly after arriving to the hospital, a Hadassah spokesperson said.
The British Embassy in Israel said it was “in touch with local authorities” following the stabbing, but could not officially comment beyond that.
In addition, the ambulance service treated a pregnant woman who suffered an injury to her stomach when the light rail came to a sudden halt because of the attack, as well as a man in his 50s who hurt his leg when he tried to run from the scene, MDA said.
Both were lightly injured and taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment, MDA said.
The terrorist was identified as Jamil Tamimi, 57, from the Ras al-Amoud neighborhood of East Jerusalem, by the Shin Bet security service.
“According to an initial investigation, it seems he suffers from mental problems,” a police spokesperson said.
Earlier this year, Tamimi tried to commit suicide by swallowing a razor blade, according to the Shin Bet. He was also found guilty of sexually abusing his daughter in 2011.
“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,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.
Security forces have been on high alert over the Passover and Easter holidays when hundreds of thousands of people visit Jerusalem. The army imposed a closure on the West Bank for the duration of the holidays.
Video footage from the scene showed a group of police officers and civilians grabbing the attacker by each limb and forcing him to the ground as frightened commuters tried and get off the carriage.
תיעוד: מעצר המחבל שניות לאחר שביצע את פיגוע הדקירה בתוך קרון הרכבת הקלה pic.twitter.com/sD9kFMUC6e
— רועי ינובסקי (@Roi_Yanovsky) April 14, 2017
The attack occurred near IDF Square in the capital, along Jaffa Road, right near the walls of the Old City which was packed with Good Friday pilgrims and Jews celebrating Passover
Following the attack, the Border Police shut down the nearby Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City. The area has been a frequent site of attacks. Rail service resumed shortly after the attack.
The terrorist’s knife was recovered from the scene by police.
Though a marked drop has been recorded by security officials in recent months, 41 Israelis, two Americans, a Palestinian and an Eritrean national have been killed in the spate of stabbing, car-ramming and shooting attacks that began a year and a half ago.
Israeli officials have said that many of the attackers have done so due to personal problems, with some hoping to commit suicide by cop or soldier.
According to AFP figures, some 250 Palestinians, a Jordanian and a Sudanese migrant have also been killed, most of them in the course of carrying out attacks, Israel says, and many of the others in clashes with troops in the West Bank and at the Gaza border, as well as in Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket attacks.
The spate of Palestinian attacks that began in October 2015 was dubbed the “lone wolf” intifada, as many of the attacks were carried out by individuals who were not connected to any terror group.