Hannah Bladon Jerusalem stabbing: Family 'devastated' at attack

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Hannah BladonImage source, PA
Image caption,
Hannah Bladon was on an exchange programme at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The family of British student Hannah Bladon, who was stabbed to death in Jerusalem, have said they are "devastated" by the "senseless and tragic attack".

Ms Bladon, 20, was attacked on a tram in Jerusalem on Good Friday.

She was studying at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem at the time of her death and had been taking part in an archaeological dig that morning.

Ms Bladon was stabbed several times in the chest and died in hospital.

She was attacked by a man who pulled a knife from his bag and repeatedly stabbed her on the tram travelling near Old City, which was busy as Christians marked Good Friday and Jews celebrated Passover.

A 57-year-old Palestinian man was detained at the scene.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Officials inspect the scene of Friday's attack near Jerusalem's Old City

Ms Bladon, from Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire, had been taking classes in bible studies, archaeology and Hebrew at the Rothberg International School, part of the Hebrew University, which expressed "deep sorrow" over her death.

In a statement, her family said she was "the most caring, sensitive and compassionate daughter you could ever wish for".

'Talented musician'

The family added: "Hannah was a talented musician, part of a serving team at her local church and a member of her local archaeological group.

"She was an enthusiastic rugby player and a keen Derby County supporter.

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

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Image caption,
Police cordoned off the road leading to scene of the attack near the Old City

Ms Bladon was a student at the University of Birmingham, which said it was "deeply saddened" by her death.

Her personal tutor, Dr Andrew Davies, the head of theology and religion at the university, said Ms Bladon was a "rare treasure".

"I think one of the first things that struck us about her was her enthusiasm," he said.

"She was always the kind of first to be there for lecture [sic], bright-eyed, bushy tailed, even in the early hours of the morning. Really enthusiastic, really dedicated and really committed - clear first-class material and she wanted to be an academic in the future."

The Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Reverend Dr Michael Ipgrave, said Ms Bladon played "an active part in the life of her local church" in Burton-upon-Trent, where she was a server.

"My thoughts are with her church family in Burton," he said.

"Through the Dean of Lichfield, we have also made contact with St George's Cathedral in Jerusalem and asked for prayers to be offered for Hannah there."

'Attack, attack'

Police said the suspect, a resident of Ras al-Amud in east Jerusalem, was recently released from a psychiatric hospital.

Jerusalem police chief Yoram Halevy told the AFP news agency the man was "very mentally disturbed".

An off-duty policeman travelling on the tram pulled an emergency brake and then tackled the attacker, with the help of another passenger.

He told the AFP news agency: "I was travelling with my family when I heard the cries of 'attack, attack'.

"I sounded the alarm then rushed to the scene of the attack. We overpowered him."

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Israeli medical personnel inspect the scene of the attack near the Old City

A 30-year-old pregnant woman and a 50-year-old man were also injured in the attack.

BBC Middle East correspondent Tom Bateman said the pair were either hurt when the tram came to a sudden stop or in the panic to get away.

Israel's President, Reuven Rivlin, said he was "filled with sadness about the attack" and that his thoughts and prayers were with the family of the victim.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tweeted a picture of the knife used in the attack.

Image source, PA