UK soccer club holds minute of silence for student murdered in Jerusalem
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UK soccer club holds minute of silence for student murdered in Jerusalem

'Keen Derby County supporter' Hannah Bladon, who was stabbed to death Friday on light rail, honored before Monday's game

Derby County soccer players bow their heads during a minute's silence April 17, 2017, held in memory of Hannah Bladon, who was murdered in Jerusalem on April 14, 2017. Bladon was a Derby County supporter (Sky screenshot)
Derby County soccer players bow their heads during a minute's silence April 17, 2017, held in memory of Hannah Bladon, who was murdered in Jerusalem on April 14, 2017. Bladon was a Derby County supporter (Sky screenshot)

England’s Derby County soccer club held a minute of silence before the start of its game against Huddersfield Town on Monday evening in honor of Hannah Bladon, who was stabbed to death in a Jerusalem terror attack on Friday. Bladon, 20, was a fervent Derby County supporter.

Before the kick-off, the stadium announcer called for a minute’s silence in memory of Bladon, who was “tragically murdered” on Friday in Jerusalem. He expressed the club’s “sincerest sympathies” to Bladon’s family.

The gesture was impeccably observed, with thousands of fans of both teams standing in silence. The players from each team stood, arms linked and heads bowed, facing each other in the center of the field.

When the minute was over, fans also applauded.

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)

“20-year-old Hannah, who was from Burton-upon-Trent, was attacked on Good Friday in Jerusalem where she was studying at The Hebrew University,” the club, which plays in England’s second highest league, said in a statement.

Soccer players from Derby County (in white) and Huddersfield Town bow their heads during a minute's silence April 17, 2017, held in memory of Hannah Bladon, who was murdered in Jerusalem on April 14, 2017. Bladon was a Derby County supporter (Sky screenshot)
Soccer players from Derby County (in white) and Huddersfield Town bow their heads during a minute’s silence April 17, 2017, held in memory of Hannah Bladon, who was murdered in Jerusalem on April 14, 2017. Bladon was a Derby County supporter (Sky screenshot)

“She has been described by her family as ‘the most caring, sensitive and compassionate daughter you could ever wish for’. Everybody at Derby County would like to express our sincerest sympathies to the Bladon family.”

Derby County soccer fans observe a minute's silence April 17, 2017, in memory of Hannah Bladon, who was murdered in Jerusalem on April 14, 2017. Bladon was a Derby County supporter (Sky screenshot)
Derby County soccer fans observe a minute’s silence April 17, 2017, in memory of Hannah Bladon, who was murdered in Jerusalem on April 14, 2017. Bladon was a Derby County supporter (Sky screenshot)

Bladon, who hailed from the English town of Burton-on-Trent in Derbyshire, was “a keen Derby County supporter,” her family said in a statement on Saturday.

Derby County soccer club's Pride Park Stadium. (CC BY SA-2.0, Chris Dixon,Wikipedia)
Derby County soccer club’s Pride Park Stadium. (CC BY SA-2.0, Chris Dixon,Wikipedia)

Bladon, an exchange student from Birmingham University who was on a study program at the Hebrew University, was stabbed to death on the light-rail by East Jerusalem resident Jamil Tamimi, 57, a Palestinian with a history of mental problems.

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

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

Tamimi was on his way from a mental hospital in northern Israel when he carried out the fatal stabbing. He had telephoned his family when he reached Jerusalem, and spoken to one of his sons, who told him that the family wanted no contact with him, in part because he had previously been convicted of sexually abusing his daughter.

A knife used in a stabbing attack on the Jerusalem light rail near IDF Square in the capital on April 14, 2017. (Israel Police)
A knife used in a stabbing attack on the Jerusalem light rail near IDF Square in the capital on April 14, 2017. (Israel Police)

He told investigators that he felt he had “nothing left to lose.” He purchased a knife in the Old City and boarded the light rail at Damascus Gate shortly before 1 p.m. Seeing an armed soldier on board, he decided to attack the young woman — Bladon — who was standing nearby. He took out the knife he had just purchased and stabbed her multiple times, critically wounding her.

Jamil Tamimi, 57, who stabbed and killed Hannah Bladon in Jerusalem on April 14, 2017, is brought to the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court after his arrest, on April 15, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Jamil Tamimi, 57, who stabbed and killed Hannah Bladon in Jerusalem on April 14, 2017, is brought to the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court after his arrest, on April 15, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“I attacked her so that the soldier would shoot me,” the TV report quoted Tamimi as saying to investigators.

A Jerusalem court on Saturday remanded Tamimi in custody and ordered him sent for psychiatric tests.

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

Her “final act of kindness,” the TV report said, was to give up her seat on the train for the woman who was holding a baby. Bladon had previously been sitting further back in the carriage, but got up for the woman, and went to stand near the exit door.

Bladon’s family said they were “devastated” by her death in a “senseless and tragic attack.”

The statement noted that Hannah was “a talented student” and an “enthusiastic rugby player.”

“She was driven and passionate and her death leaves so much promise unfulfilled.”

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

Her family said she had been returning from an archaeological dig when she was killed.

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)

 

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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