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American Tourist Kristine Luken Killed in Israel, No Arrests Made, Say Police

American Tourist's Body Found in Israel, No Arrests Made, Say Police
Israeli rescue workers carry the body of U.S. tourist Kristine Luken after she was found in a wooded area outside Jerusalem, Dec. 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

JERUSALEM (CBS/AP) Israeli police discovered the body of American tourist Kristine Luken Sunday in a rugged forest outside of Jerusalem, after a friend said Arab assailants attacked the pair the day before while they were hiking.

Luken, who was in her mid-40s, was found with hands bound and full of stab wounds, according to police. Her hometown was not released.

Luken had deep spiritual ties to Israel through her involvement with an evangelical ministry that promotes Christianity among Jews. She was involved with the "Church's Ministry among Jewish people," first in the U.S., then in England, where she became a ministry staffer.

The victim's friend, Kaye Susan Wilson, reported Luken missing on Saturday after the two were attacked by two Arab men with what appeared to be a bread knife in a forest near the Jewish farming community of Mata, approximately 12 miles southwest of Jerusalem.

Wilson, a naturalized Israeli citizen from Britain, told Israeli reporters from her hospital bed Sunday that she and Luken were resting in the woods when the two alleged attackers approached them asking for water.

"Something wasn't right," she said when describing the incident and claimed they tried to walk away. Wilson said they thought the two men had left, but they suddenly reappeared and attacked.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said authorities were treating the attack as political in nature, while not ruling out that it could have been criminal. Police said there were no signs that the wounded women had been sexually assaulted or robbed.

"It was clear that they came to kill," said Wilson.

At one point, she said, one of the men gently took a Star of David chain off her neck, "then turned me around and stabbed in the place where the Star of David had been." Wilson managed to escape, bloody and traumatized, after pretending to be dead before she made her way to a parking lot, where she found help.

A manhunt ensued throughout the day after Luken's body was discovered, but after nightfall, no arrests had been reported.

According to a senior Palestinian security official, Israel authorities had not released any information regarding the attackers' ages, names or physical descriptions. The official spoke of anonymity because he was discussing sensitive security information.

The U.S. Embassy said it had no information on the case, but said it was in touch with Israeli authorities.