A British woman in her early 20s has died after being stabbed by a Palestinian man in Jerusalem. Thousands of Christians and Jews were celebrating Good Friday and Passover in the city at the time of the attack.

Jerusalem Messerattacke in der Straßenbahn (Reuters/A. Awad)

A young British woman died on Friday in Jerusalem after suffering multiple stab wounds. The woman, who was studying as an exchange student at the Hebrew University, was traveling on the light railway, close to Jerusalem’s Old City, when she was attacked by a 57-year-old Palestinian man from Arab East Jerusalem.

The Shin Bet domestic security service identified the assailant as Jamil Tamimi who suffered mental health problems and was convicted in 2011 for sexually assaulting his daughter. He was arrested shortly after Friday’s attack.

Thousands of Jews and Christians travel to Jerusalem's Old City to celebrate Passover and Easter

“This is one of many instances where a Palestinian suffering personal strife … chooses to carry out an attack in order to find release for his problems,” the Shin Bet statement said, adding that Tamimi had previously tried to commit suicide swallowing a razor blade.

The historic area was packed with Christians celebrating Good Friday and Jews celebrating Passover at the time of the stabbing. Police had been on high alert for the Jewish festival which sees tens of thousands of Jews pray at the Western Wall inside the Old City.

Tensions over Temple Mount

Some Jews also visit the flashpoint al-Aqsa mosque above it. The compound, which is the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest site to Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount, is the source of constant tension.

Jews are allowed to visit but not pray at the site. Palestinian fears that Israel will seek to change those rules have led to repeated violence.

Watch video01:19

Prayers removed from Israel’s Western Wall

ksb/rt (AP, dpa)

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