A young British woman who was stabbed to death in Jerusalem on Good Friday has been named as Hannah Bladon.
She was attacked while travelling on a light rail train near the Old City, which was packed as Christians marked Good Friday and Jews celebrated Passover.
Bladon’s family have said they are “devastated by this senseless and tragic attack”, the Press Association reported.
Mark Regev, Israel’s ambassador to the UK, said: “My thoughts are with the family and friends of UK student Hannah Bladon, who was murdered in a senseless act of terror in Jerusalem.”
Bladon, 20, a student at the University of Birmingham, had been on an exchange programme with the Rothberg International School at Hebrew University of Jerusalem since January.
She was attacked by a Palestinian man who pulled a knife from his bag and repeatedly stabbed her as the tram neared Jerusalem’s City Hall.
An off-duty policeman pulled an emergency brake and tried to intervene.
He told the Israeli Police Spokesmanship: “I was on the Jerusalem Light Rail with my family and during the journey I heard shouts of ‘attack, attack’.
“I immediately pulled on the manual emergency break of the train, ran to the scene of the attack and charged at the attacker, neutralising him so that he cannot continue to harm innocent people.”
Paramedics treated Bladon at the scene and rushed her to hospital, but she later died.
A pregnant women and 50-year-old man were also injured when the tram came to a sudden stop and in the aftermath of the attack.
Police detained a 57-year-old man at the scene, and Israeli Police Superintendent Micky Rosenfeld said the attack was carried out by an “Arab terrorist” from Rasel Amud, in east Jerusalem.
Israeli intelligence services Shin Bet said the attacker had a history of mental illness, that he recently tried to commit suicide in hospital by swallowing a razor blade and that he was convicted of sexually abusing his daughter in 2011.
It said: “This is not the first time that a Palestinian suffering from personal, mental or moral distress has chosen to commit a terrorist attack in order to escape his problems.”
The Foreign Office confirmed a Briton’s death, saying it is supporting her family.
The Hebrew University spoke of its “deep sorrow” over Bladon’s murder, saying: “We extend our deepest condolences to her family.”
It added: “The university condemns such acts of terror that harm innocent people, and especially a student who came to Jerusalem to study and widen her academic horizons.
“The university administration and staff will provide all necessary support to students, faculty members and their families in Israel and around the world.
“Hannah Bladon came to the Hebrew University as part of a student exchange from the University of Birmingham.
“Hannah began her studies here at the end of January 2017 and was supposed to continue her studies until the end of the current semester.”
The Rothberg International School said Bladon was studying classes in bible studies, archaeology and Hebrew during her exchange programme.
It said: “Her friends described her as an inquisitive and adventurous student who made the most of her opportunity to learn and experience life in Israel.
“Her family has been notified. All other Rothberg students are safe.”
The University of Birmingham said it was “deeply saddened” over Bladon’s death and said it would be supporting any students affected.
President Reuven Rivlin of Israel said he was “filled with sadness” and that his country’s “thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim”.
He said: “This week thousands have come through the ancient gates of Jerusalem, to celebrate the feasts of Passover and Easter throughout the city - while the security forces work to ensure the safety of the dear residents and visitors to the city.
“And so we will continue to do. Terror can never overcome us. Terror will never destroy our lives here.”
The Board of Deputies of British Jews tweeted its condolences, saying: “Our hearts go out to family of the British woman murdered by a terrorist in Jerusalem, an unholy attack as city marks Passover & Good Friday.”
The Jewish Leadership Council added: “We are horrified to hear of the murder of a British tourist near Old City of Jerusalem at a time of faith & peace. Send deepest sympathies.”