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Palestinian killer of UK student in 2017 Jerusalem attack is found dead in cell

Jamil Tamimi, 63, who stabbed exchange student Hannah Bladon to death on light rail, dies of unknown causes at Nitzan Prison; prison service to investigate

Jamil Tamimi, the Palestinian man who murdered British student Hannah Bladon on April 14, 2017 in Jerusalem, is brought for a court hearing at the Jerusalem District Court, on December 31, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Jamil Tamimi, the Palestinian man who murdered British student Hannah Bladon on April 14, 2017 in Jerusalem, is brought for a court hearing at the Jerusalem District Court, on December 31, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A Palestinian man convicted of murdering a British exchange student in an attack on Jerusalem’s light rail in 2017, was found dead in his prison cell on Wednesday, officials said.

Jamil Tamimi, 63, was found by a prison guard lying on the floor of his cell at the Nitzan Prison, unconscious and without a pulse, the Israel Prisons Service said in a statement.

“The guard called a paramedic and a doctor who began resuscitation operations and called an ambulance. The prisoner’s death was declared at the scene,” the statement read.

Tamimi’s family from East Jerusalem was notified of his death.

The IPS said it would investigate the circumstances. It gave no immediate details on what caused Tamimi’s death.

In April 2017, Tamimi killed Hannah Bladon, 20, an exchange student from Birmingham University who was on a study program at the Hebrew University, as she rode on the Jerusalem Light Rail in the capital.

Tamimi was found fit to stand trial despite his history of mental problems, which included treatment at the Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center and a previous attempt to die by suicide.

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

According to a plea bargain, Tamimi would have served 18 years in prison, instead of a life sentence, while admitting to his guilt and being exempted from paying Bladon’s family financial compensation.

Tamimi, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amoud, called his sons the day of the attack and sought to visit them at the family’s home after checking out of the mental health center, 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 that point, he was said to have decided to carry out a stabbing attack.

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

When her back was 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.

Officers and medics at the scene of a stabbing attack that killed Hannah Bladon, on Jerusalem’s light rail, April 14, 2017.(Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

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

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.

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 2017, which she was set to complete in September that year.

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

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