JERUSALEM — A Palestinian man stabbed a British woman to death on Friday near Jerusalem’s Old City, where thousands of Jewish and Christian pilgrims were gathered for religious holidays. The 23-year-old student was rushed to hospital with serious wounds but later died, according to the emergency services. The attack took place on a tram close to the Old City, where thousands of Christians from around the world marked Good Friday as Jews marked the week-long Passover holiday. Jerusalem police chief Yoram Halevy described the attacker, who was arrested, as “very mentally disturbed.” Israel’s domestic security agency Shin Bet named him as Jamil Tamimi, a 57-year-old Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed “Islamic terrorism” for the killing of the woman, whom he described as a student, in “cold blood.” He said security forces had thwarted “several attempted attacks in recent days,” without giving details. According to police, the assailant pulled a knife out of a bag and stabbed the woman several times in the chest. An off-duty policeman travelling in the tram overpowered the attacker with the help of another passenger, the authorities said. “I was travelling with my family when I heard the cries of ‘attack, attack,’” the officer said.
“I sounded the alarm then rushed to the scene of the attack. We overpowered him.” The Hebrew University released a statement identifying the victim as Hannah Bladon, an exchange student from Britain’s University of Birmingham. It said she had only started studying in Jerusalem in January and had been due to complete a single semester. A British foreign office spokeswoman said: “We can confirm the tragic death of a British national in Jerusalem. We are providing support to her family at this difficult time and are in touch with local authorities.”