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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 April 2019

Israel jails mentally ill Palestinian over tourist stabbing murder

He killed 21-year-old British exchange student Hannah Bladon ‘at random’

Israel has jailed a Palestinian who stabbed a British tourist to death in Jerusalem, describing him as mentally ill.

The 59-year-old attacker Jamil Tamimi randomly attacked 21-year-old Hannah Bladon, who was participating in an exchange at an Israeli university in Jerusalem from the University of Birmingham, in April 2017.

The prosecutor in the case said that it was not a terror attack but a case of Tamimi not being mentally fit. He sentenced Tamimi to 18 years in prison.

"This was not a terrorist incident... this was a terrible murder carried out by a mentally ill person," they said, according to a court transcript. He explained this as the justification for not seeking a life sentence for Tamimi.

Ms Bladon was on the way to church where she volunteered when Tamimi attacked her on a tram. She came within his reach after offering her seat to an older woman, stabbing her at least seven times.

The attacker had sought to commit suicide after launching the assault but police officers restrained him.

Palestinians have launched a series of stabbing attacks against Israelis in Jerusalem, which gave rise to fears that Tamimi’s random attack was one of that nature.

Dozens of Palestinians who carried out similar attacks, many of them as a political act against Israel, have been shot by security forces or armed civilians.

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The family of Ms Bladon said that the sentence for the killer was not harsh enough.

"For the family, it makes no difference whether this was a terror attack or just another crazed murderer,” the family lawyer Maurice Hersh told Reuters.

“They are outraged by the leniency of the sentence. They expected that Hannah's murderer would spend the rest of his life behind bars.”

The court transcript quoted Tamimi as saying after sentencing: “I'm sorry. I wish I could take her place. I did not mean to murder her. I don't know how it happened.”

Updated: January 2, 2019 03:39 PM

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