x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

American stabbed to death at Jerusalem

Israeli investigators suspect terrorism as a likely motive for the kidnapping and stabbing of two women near Jerusalem, one of whom died from her wounds, a high-ranking police source said.

Israeli medics and volunteers carry the body of the American Christine Logan yesterday. Menahem Kahana / AFP
Israeli medics and volunteers carry the body of the American Christine Logan yesterday. Menahem Kahana / AFP

JERUSALEM // Israeli investigators suspect terrorism as a likely motive for the kidnapping and stabbing of two women near Jerusalem, one of whom died from her wounds, a high-ranking police source said yesterday.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source confirmed Israeli media reports identifying the woman as Christine Logan. An American citizen, she and a friend, Kaye Susan Wilson, 46, were kidnapped on Saturday while hiking together in a forested area on the south-western outskirts of Jerusalem.

The two were tied up and stabbed repeatedly, according to media reports. Mrs Wilson, a tour guide who reportedly immigrated to Israel from Britain in 1991, described the assailants as "two Arabs". After pretending to be dead, she escaped her captors and reached help at a nearby car park.

Police said there were no signs that the women had been robbed or sexually assaulted.

"This suggests that there's a strong possibility that the woman was murdered based on terrorist motivations," said the police source.

"Based on previous experience we have had with these types of attacks, the fact that they were tied up and stabbed the way they were, it appears they were stabbed for a reason."

The source, however, said that investigators "haven't cancelled out other possibilities. It's possible they had known the men, but obviously that's a small possibility".

The US Embassy had no additional information, the Associated Press reported, while the British Embassy said it was looking into the matter.

Palestinian officials expressed concern that Arabs had been publicly singled out as the suspects before Israeli authorities had conducted a thorough investigation.

"It's not professional for police to keep leaking these kind of hints before having serious results from an investigation, which there isn't", said Ghassan Khatib, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank. "And I think that leaking these things is typical of an Israeli attitude to give the impression that the bad things happening in Israel are the result of Palestinians."

The killing comes in the wake of collapsed Israel-Palestinian negotiations, but the police source said there was no reason to suspect any connection to the peace process.

Israel's police and military conducted a manhunt for Logan and her captors on Saturday. Police identified Logan's body early yesterday in a forest near Mata, an area on Israel's side of its internationally recognised border with the Palestinians, known as the Green Line.

Mrs Wilson was taken in serious condition to Jerusalem's Hadassah hospital.

The hospital's director, Yuval Weiss, said she was "out of danger but would stay under surveillance in the intensive care department for several days".

 

hnaylor@thenational.ae