IDF search for missing woman - Salman - Dec 18, 2010
Security forces search for missing woman near Moshav Mata in the Jerusalem area, December 18, 2010. Photo by Emil Salman
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An Israeli woman in her 40s was stabbed Saturday while she was hiking in a mountainous area in the outskirts of Jerusalem.

The woman arrived in a nearby town, Moshav Mata, with her hands tied and bleeding from her chest and back. She told security forces that arrived to the scene that she had been stabbed by two Arab men while she was hiking in a valley nearby with her friend, who was missing.

Magen David Adom ambulance services arrived at the scene and transferred her to Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in serious condition, where her condition improved later to moderate and stable.

A large security force was sent to the area in attempt to locate the missing woman as well as the stabbers.

The Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet are investigating whether the act was sparked by nationalist motives and whether the perpetrators came from the West Bank area. In any case, security forces are mainly working to prevent the stabbers from returning to the West Bank.

Moreover, IDF forces increased their alert level and increased security checks in the area of Tzur Hadassah and the West Bank settlements of Beitar Illit and Gush Etzion in an attempt to catch the stabbers who may have escaped to villages beyond the Green Line.

Jerusalem District Police Chief Aharon Franco said Saturday that he is investigating the possibility that the woman has been kidnapped and is no longer 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," he said. "Currently we have two missions: to find the missing woman and to investigate."