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Palestinian killer of UK exchange student in Jerusalem declared fit for trial

Hannah Bladon, an English student who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in Jerusalem on April 14, 2017
UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Tamimi reportedly described the attack to investigators as 'an attempted suicide attack'

The Palestinian man who stabbed to death a British exchange student in Jerusalem last week was declared fit to stand trial on Tuesday, after undergoing a psychiatric examination in light of a history of mental illness.

A psychiatrist for the Jerusalem district branch of the State Prosecutor’s Office determined that East Jerusalem resident Jamil Tamimi, 57, is fit to stand trial for the murder of 21-year-old Hannah Bladon who was fatally stabbed while riding the Jerusalem Light Rail.

Tamimi had been remanded into custody on Monday and court-ordered to undergo psychiatric testing, after indications that he suffered mental problems including previous treatment at the Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center and a past suicide attempt.

According to a Channel 2 television report on Saturday, Tamimi had described the attack to investigators as "an attempted suicide attack," saying he felt he had "nothing left to lose" and had hoped a nearby soldier would shoot and kill him.

AHMAD GHARABLI (AFP)

Tamimi  had been returning from a mental hospital in northern Israel when he carried out the attack. He had reportedly spoken by telephone with one of his sons, who told him that the family no longer wanted any contact with him, in part over a past conviction for sexually abusing his daughter.

"I attacked her so that the soldier would shoot me," the television report quoted Tamimi telling investigators.

Hannah, who had begun studying at the Hebrew University in January on an exchange from the University of Birmingham, had given up her seat on the light rail for a woman holding a baby, Channel 2 said, placing her in proximity to her eventual killer.

AHMAD GHARABLI (AFP)

In a statement released Saturday, Hannah's family in the UK described her as "the most caring, sensitive and compassionate daughter you could ever wish for" and lamented the "senseless and tragic attack" that left "so much promise unfulfilled."

Hannah had been studying religion, theology, and archaeology at the University of Birmingham and began an exchange program in Jerusalem in January. She was returning from an archaeological dig when she was killed, her family said.

The attack occurred near Tsahal Square just outside the Old City where Christian commemorations were under way for Good Friday as Jews marked the week-long Passover holiday.

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