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Palestinian awaits mental evaluation after stabbing, killing British woman

April 16, 2017 11:44 A.M. (Updated: April 16, 2017 8:33 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israel's Jerusalem Magistrate Court extended the remand of 57-year-old Jamil al-Tamimi until April 24 on Saturday, after he allegedly stabbed and killed a 20-year-old British woman in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday.

Lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud said the Israeli judge also ordered that al-Tamimi meet with a psychiatrist from Israel's Jerusalem district for a mental evaluation.

Israeli police detained al-Tamimi, a resident of the Ras al-Amoud neighborhood near the Old City, accusing him of committing the fatal stabbing of Hannah Bladon inside the Jerusalem light rail. Bladon, a University of Birmingham student, was reportedly visiting the city as part of an exchange program.

Israeli police said at the time that al-Tamimi was "mentally unstable," had a prior criminal police record for domestic violence, and had recently been released from a psychiatric hospital.

According to Israeli news site Ynet, al-Tamimi said that he "didn't mean it," and apologized to Bladon's family when asked to comment.

Israel's security agency the Shin Bet also reportedly said that al-Tamimi had previously tried to commit suicide by swallowing a razorblade while hospitalized, and that in 2011, he was convicted of molesting his daughter.

While authorities recognized al-Tamimi's history of mental illness, they attributed the attack to so-called radical Islamic terrorism. "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," the Shin Bet's statement said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also tied the attack to global terrorism, saying in a statement that "radical Islamic terrorism is striking world capitals."

"Regretfully, terrorism struck today in Israel's capital -- Jerusalem," Netanyahu added, alluding to Israel's contested claim to Jerusalem as its capital.

In spite of the comparisons, a trend of alleged and actual small-scale knife attacks by Palestinians that peaked during a wave of violence in October 2015 has been understood by locals as a political uprising known as the “Jerusalem Intifada.”

While Israeli officials routinely claim that Palestinian attacks are part of a international rise in Islamist extremism, many Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel's decades-long military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon.

Bladon was the first foreign national to be killed by a Palestinian in the occupied territory or Israel since the start of 2017, while seven Israelis -- the majority of whom were uniformed soldiers or police -- have been killed by Palestinians, and at least 18 Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli forces.
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