TEL AVIV – A Palestinian man who stabbed a British student to death in Jerusalem on Friday was declared fit to stand trial, a psychiatrist from the State Prosecutor’s Office said Tuesday.
Eastern Jerusalem resident Jamil Tamimi carried out the terror attack on the Jerusalem Light Rail, killing Hannah Bladon, a 20-year-old exchange student from Birmingham University who was on a study program at the Hebrew University.
Tamimi, 57, has a history of mental problems and was described as “violent and aggressive” in a psychiatric assessment at the Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center in Jerusalem where he had been hospitalized prior to the attack. In a previous episode, he had attempted suicide by swallowing a razor.
Despite the evaluation, Tamimi was discharged from the hospital with no restrictions and transferred to a supported housing unit in Israel’s north, Hebrew-language media reported.
He received permission from the housing unit’s administrator to travel to Jerusalem unattended. When he reached the capital, he called his family and spoke to one of his sons who told him that he was not to contact them again, partly because of Tamimi’s prior conviction for sexually abusing his daughter. Later that day, Tamimi bought a knife in the Old City and alighted the Jerusalem Light Rail at Damascus Gate.
According to Channel 2, the stabbing was described as an “attempted suicide attack” since Tamimi had hoped that the soldier standing next to Bladon would kill him. He told investigators he felt he had “nothing left to lose.” Bladon had been standing adjacent to the exit doors of the train having yielded her seat to a woman holding a baby. Tamimi stabbed her multiple times in the upper body. She died of her wounds after arriving at Hadassah Hospital in Mount Scopus.
Police are investigating why Tamimi was allowed to travel without supervision from the institution in the north despite being deemed violent. The Ministry of Health, which oversees the housing unit, has yet to issue a statement.
Bladon’s family in the UK described the student as “the most caring, sensitive and compassionate daughter you could ever wish for.”
She arrived in Jerusalem in January for a semester abroad at the Hebrew University as part of her studies in religion, theology, and archaeology.
Her family said she was on her way back from an archaeological dig when she was killed.
On Monday evening, Britain’s Derby County soccer club held a minute of silence before the start of its match against Huddersfield Town to mark the tragic death of Bladon, who had been an ardent fan of the club.
Thousands of fans of both teams stood in silence as the players from each team formed a chain, linking arms and bowing their heads.