2017 Jerusalem Light Rail stabbing
Part of Israeli–Palestinian conflict
2017 Jerusalem Light Rail stabbing
LocationTzahal Square, Jerusalem
Coordinates31°46′44″N 35°13′29″E / 31.77889°N 35.22472°E / 31.77889; 35.22472Coordinates: 31°46′44″N 35°13′29″E / 31.77889°N 35.22472°E / 31.77889; 35.22472
Date14 April 2017; 4 years ago (2017-04-14)
12:50 (UTC+03:00)
Attack type
WeaponsKitchen knife
VictimsTrain passengers
MotiveUnder investigation

The 2017 Jerusalem Light Rail stabbing was a stabbing attack and suspected act of terrorism that occurred on Good Friday,[1] 14 April 2017, on Jerusalem Light Rail's car. In the attack, a 20 year old British student was stabbed to death by a Palestinian man. Two others, including a pregnant woman, were injured in the incident.[2] The attacker was arrested and was deemed competent to stand trial.


Stabbing attacks were rare in Israel in 2017, although there was a spate of them in the fall of 2015 and early 2016.[3] The attack took place as crowds of pilgrims from around Israel and the world gathered in the center of Jerusalem to celebrate Passover and Good Friday.[3]


The attack occurred at about 1:00 pm 14 April 2017, as a knife-wielding man stabbed a 21 year old British exchange student. An off-duty police officer riding the light rail pulled an emergency brake and tackled the perpetrator, who was then arrested.[4]

According to Israel's domestic security service, Shin Bet, the attacker was known to the authorities and the attack may have also involved a "suicide by soldier" motivation,[5] as attributed to other incidents in the last 18 months,[6] "This is yet another case of a Palestinian suffering from personal, mental or moral distress choosing to commit an act of terror to escape his problems."[7]

After his arrest, the perpetrator reportedly told investigators that he stabbed Bladon because he wanted the soldier standing beside her to kill him.[8][9]


Hannah Bladon, a 20-year-old religion, theology and archaeology student in Israel on an exchange program from the University of Birmingham was fatally injured and died in ambulance en route to Hadassah Medical Center.[5][10] She had been returning from volunteering in an Israel Antiquities Authority archaeological excavation in the Western Wall Tunnel,[11] and was standing next to the attacker after giving up her seat for a woman with a baby.[12][13]


The accused, Jamil Tamimi (57) a Palestinian Arab from the Ras al-Amud neighborhood of East Jerusalem who was known to security services; according to security services the accused was convicted of molesting his daughter in 2011.[14][15][7][16][17][18] The accused had been admitted in the past to Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center, and a day before the attack he voluntarily admitted himself to a mental health treatment center in northern Israel from which he was expelled following a violent assault on a person.[5][19][20] On the morning of the attack he spoke to one of his sons who told him that the entire family wanted no contacted with him. He reportedly told investigators he had "nothing left to lose", and that he had purchased a knife in the Old City, before boarding a train close to Damascus Gate.[17] Following the attack, the accused was sent for a mental examination by a psychiatrist.[21] Psychiatric examiners judged him mentally fit to stand trial,[17] and he was subsequently charged with premeditated murder.[22][14][23]

Trial and sentencing

The perpetrator confessed to having committed the murder, acknowledged that he is mentally ill, apologized, and entered a plea-bargain under which he will serve 18 years in prison.[24] Hanna Bladon's family was "outraged" by the lenient sentence, arguing that the murderer ought to have been incarcerated for life.[25] In January 2019, the Jerusalem District Court formally sentenced him to 18 years in prison.[26]


In response to this and other recent lone wolf attack, Israeli police have revamped their anti-terrorism tactics, increasing monitoring of social media, improving the intercommunication of mobile devices, and giving security agencies to instantly trace phone calls made such devices.[27]


See also


  1. ^ Mickolus, Edward (3 May 2018). Terrorism Worldwide, 2017. McFarland. ISBN 9781476634005.
  2. ^ Fisher, Ian (14 April 2017). "British Student Is Fatally Stabbed on Train in Jerusalem". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  3. ^ a b Eglash, Ruth (14 April 2017). "Woman fatally stabbed in Jerusalem amid Good Friday gatherings". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Tram stabber was on his way home from a mental hospital — police". Times of Israel. 14 April 2017. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e Beaumont, Peter (14 April 2017). "Jerusalem stabbing: British student, 21, killed close to Old City". Guardian. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  6. ^ The Palestinian Terrorism of the Past Year: Causes and Policy Recommendations, Kobi Michael, INSS Insight No.862, 14 October 2016
  7. ^ a b c Hasson, Nir; Khoury, Jack (14 April 2017). "British Student Killed in Jerusalem Stabbing Attack; Assailant Mentally Unstable". Retrieved 14 April 2017 – via Haaretz.
  8. ^ "British Student Killed In Jerusalem Stabbing Attack Mourned". The Jewish Week. JTA. 16 April 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  9. ^ "Palestinian mother of 9 who stabbed soldier said she had a death wish". JTA. 24 April 2017. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  10. ^ Daisley, Stephen (4 January 2019). "Coffee House The real racism against the Palestinians". The Spectator. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  11. ^ Eisenbud, Daniel K. (17 April 2017). "Tributes Honor British Student Killed in Jerusalem Stabbing Attack". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  12. ^ UK student was standing near killer because she gave up her seat for woman with baby, Times Of Israel, 15 April 2017
  13. ^ Turner, Rhea (14 April 2018). "Heartbroken dad of Hannah Bladon who died in Jerusalem talks of the pain one year on". Burton Mail. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  14. ^ a b Palestinian man indicted for murder of British student on Jerusalem train, Times of Israel, 11 May 2017
  15. ^ "Palestinian man who stabbed British woman to death on Jerusalem light rail charged with premeditated murder". JTA. 11 May 2017. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  16. ^ British woman fatally stabbed by Palestinian in Jerusalem, police say, CNN, 15 April 2017
  17. ^ a b c Winer, Stuart (18 April 2017). "Palestinian who stabbed British woman to death ruled fit for trial". Times of Israel. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  18. ^ Shragai, Nadav (24 August 2018). "Study finds surprising reason behind most terrorist attacks". Israel Hayom. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  19. ^ Jerusalem light rail killer’s remand extended, mental health assessed, ynet, 16 April 2017
  20. ^ "המחבל סולק לפני הפיגוע מהוסטל בשל תקיפה; מצבו הנפשי ייבחן" [Terrorist expelled from hostel due to violence; mental state to be examined]. Walla! (in Hebrew). 16 April 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2017. The hearing revealed that Tamimi had recently been hospitalized at the Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center. A day before the attack, he went to a treatment center in the north, where he was hospitalized voluntarily. According to his lawyer, attorney Muhammad Mahmud, he attacked another person and was subsequently expelled.
  21. ^ "Palestinian awaits mental evaluation after stabbing, killing British woman". Ma'an News Agency. 16 April 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  22. ^ Man charged with premeditated murder of Birmingham student Hannah Bladon in Jerusalem, Birmingham Mail, 11 May 2007
  23. ^ Israel charges Palestinian man with murdering British student on Jerusalem tram, The Telegraph, 11 May 2017
  24. ^ "Hannah Bladon killing: Man jailed over student's murder". BBC. 31 December 2018.
  25. ^ "Family of murdered British exchange student Hannah Bladon criticise 'lenient' sentence for killer". The Telegraph. 31 December 2018. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  26. ^ "Terrorist gets 18 years for murder of British student on light rail".
  27. ^ Fox, Robert (27 June 2017). "Israel changes tactics to tackle street terror". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  28. ^ Beaumont, Peter (14 April 2017). "Jerusalem stabbing: British student, 20, killed close to Old City". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  29. ^ Redden, Elizabeth (17 April 2017). "British Student Killed in Jerusalem Stabbing". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  30. ^ James, Aaron (17 April 2017). "Bishop's 'deep sadness' at Hannah Bladon's death". Premier Christian Radio. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  31. ^ Hannah Bladon killing: Derby County to hold minute's silence, BBC, 17 April 2017
  32. ^ Burton Albion to honour memory of Hannah Bladon, Dave McAdam and Ugo Ehiogu with minute's silence, Burton Mail, 21 April 2017
  33. ^ "Archbishop of Canterbury prays at Western Wall with UK chief rabbi". Times of Israel. 3 May 2017. Retrieved 8 May 2017.