A female American tourist who was feared kidnapped by Arab assailants was found dead on Sunday in a forest outside Jerusalem, with multiple stab wounds and her hands bound behind her back.
Police say the attack appears to have been politically motivated, but are also looking into possible criminal connections. There was no claim of responsibility, suggesting the assailants did not act with the backing of a terrorist organization.
"The main lead line is that the attack was nationalistic, but we haven't ruled out the possibility that it was criminal," said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
The tourist was identified as Christine Logan, 40. Police said she was American but that they did not know her hometown.
Authorities began their hours-long search for Logan after children found a woman near Moshav Mata, southwest of Jerusalem, who had multiple stab wounds and hands tied behind her back.
The woman, a friend of Logan's named Kaye Susan Wilson, a 46-year-old Israeli citizen originally from Britain, told paramedics and police officers that she and Logan were assaulted by two Arab men while hiking at Khirbet Hanut, a nearby archaeological site.
Gidi Bashan, a Jewish National Fund forester who questioned Wilson to pinpoint the location of the attack, said the incident was "a tale of bravery, in which she fought for her own life and that of her friend."
Bashan said many Palestinians illegally seeking work in Israel come to that area on Saturday night or Sunday and stay in Israel through the week, where they typically do construction work in the Beit Shemesh area.
After the incident, Border Police bolstered their forces in the area.
Wilson, a Messianic Jewish tour guide who lives in Givat Ze'ev, said she escaped after pretending to be dead. She was stabbed 12 times in her back and chest and is being treated at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, where doctors said she was stable and fully conscious.
Wilson said on Sunday that the attack began with a request for water.
"We went off the path to go up this little hill," she said. "We sat down and suddenly two Arabs passed by who asked in Hebrew if I had any water. I told them 'yalla, bye,' they left, but I felt that something wasn't right."
She suggested to Logan that they get back on the path and saw the men had come back. One was wielding what looked "like a bread knife with a serrated edge."
She said Logan "became hysterical" at the sight of the knife and that she warned her in English to keep quiet, to no avail. The men began to stab them.
"It was clear that they came to kill," she added. "Who carries around a knife like that?"
A senior police official made a similar comment, saying, "With the victim having this many stab wounds, there's no doubt that this is attempted murder."
At one point, Wilson said one of the assailants took a Star of David chain off her neck, "then turned me around and stabbed me in the place where the Star of David had been."
"I played dead," she said. "While I was lying there I heard my friend dying. Her breath was like bubbles. I waited two minutes. ... It was very hard for me to get up, but I managed to walk."
Wilson walked to a nearby parking lot and saw a car with Israeli license plates, but it didn't stop and she realized the passengers couldn't tell the condition she was in.
"I couldn't scream because of my breathing, and the car started going," she said. "So I had to walk another 20 meters and there were children there, and I didn't want to scare them with the blood, so I just turned around with my back to them so they could see that my hands were tied, and then they called the police."
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