Israeli security forces still searching for tourist feared kidnapped by Arab assailants
Woman says she was attacked by two Arab men while hiking in a valley with her friend; police search after missing companion.
A search was continuing last night for a female tourist who is feared kidnapped after reportedly being stabbed by Arab assailants while hiking with a friend near Jerusalem yesterday.
At about 4:30 yesterday afternoon, two families hiking near Moshav Mata, southwest of the capital, came upon a woman with multiple stab wounds and whose hands were tied behind her back. The woman, 46-year-old Kaye Susan Wilson, an immigrant who lives in a Jerusalem-area community, told paramedics and police officers dispatched to the scene that she and a friend from abroad were assaulted by two Arab men while hiking at Khirbet Hanut, a nearby archaeological site. Wislon said that she managed to escape and reach the road; her companion did not. After speaking briefly to investigators, Wilson was admitted to Hadassah University Hospital, where as of last night her condition was reported to be stable.
Police launched a massive manhunt for the missing woman and her attackers. It was expanded later in the day to include hundreds of Israel Defense Forces and Border Police troops. The police and the Shin Bet security service were also brought in to investigate the possible presence of terror cells in the area.
Roadblocks were put up, checkpoints along the Green Line were fortified and Route 375 was closed at one point to prevent the perpetrators from finding refuge in a Palestinian village in the area.
"We are conducting intense searches for the stabbed woman's friend. We do not know anything about her other than the woman's description," Jerusalem District Police Chief Aharon Franco said yesterday. He stressed that no possibilities have been ruled out, including that the attack was based on nationalist motives, and that the missing woman had been kidnapped and is no longer in the area. "Currently we have two missions," he said, to find the missing woman and to determine exactly what happened here."
Items of clothing were found at the site of the stabbings, but there were no signs of the missing woman.
Searchers were hindered by the absence of photographs or other identifying items that are usually available in such cases, as the missing woman is not an Israeli citizen or resident. Investigators went to Hadassah Hospital, where they tried to coax additional details about the incident and the missing woman from the victim who was found.
At 10 P.M. last night, the search was further expanded to encompass escape routes the perpetrators might have used.