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Monday, December 20, 2010

Israel: "Bread knife murder" of American tourist raises suspicions (updated)

In the wake of suspicious wildfires in Israel, an American tourist gets stabbed to death with a bread knife by "two Arab men" who speak Hebrew and have a certain affection for the Star of David. The American's Israeli partner escapes with minor injuries.

Mata is a moshav (Jewish agricultural co-op) in central Israel. In 2006 it had a population of 554.  The village was established in 1950 by immigrants from Yemen on land which had formerly belonged to the depopulated Palestinian Arab village of Allar. The founders were later joined by more immigrants from North Africa.

Kaye Susan Wilson, the survivor of the December 18th (Saturday) stabbing attack, was found wandering at dusk along the trail near Mata. The body of the 2nd hiker Kristine Luken,was found south of Mata, approximately 400 meters from the road between Mata and Beit Shemesh, police said. Her body was discovered around 6:30 a.m. on Sunday. 

The area is described by Israeli police as being "close to the border with the West Bank and the Palestinian villages of Husan and Wadi Fukin." Exclusively Jewish settlements such as Tsur Hadasa are shown on the right side of the map. There are no Arab villages accessible by Mata's 375 road.  According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the 375 route has been restricted to use by Jewish settlers. Husan was closed off by the segregation wall circa 2004.  Wadi Fukin, which sits between the green line (dashed line in above map) and the segregation wall, has no easy access to Mata.  Wadi Fukin's residents are often under attack by Israeli settlers.

American Kristine Luken, (mistakenly named Christine Logan in some reports) was stabbed to death while hiking near Mata in Israel.  Luken, a Christian, was an administrator with an evangelical ministry that promotes Christianity among Jews. The church name, CMJ, stands for "The Church's Ministry among Jewish people, a ministry that has been investing in the spiritual rebirth of the Jewish people since 1809", according to their UK website. Luken had worked for the ministry for one year having previously worked for the US Department of Education and had recently taken on responsibility for Shoresh Tours, a CMJ company that organizes tours to Israel.

Kaye Susan Wilson, a British born Jew who was with Luken at the time of the stabbing, is a naturalized citizen of Israel and the senior tour guide for Shoresh. Wilson came to Israel from Great Britain at age 16 with a very strong Zionistic identity, and is one of Shoresh’s most popular tour guides.  Wilson and Luken met in 2007 when both were participants on a study tour called “Walking with Jesus in His Jewish World,” run by Shoresh and CMJ Israel. 

This report from the LA Times: 

Wilson, a tour guide and recent British immigrant living in Israel, told investigators she and a friend, Christine Logan, had been hiking around an archaeological site known as Hirbet Hanut. When they sat down to rest on a nearby hill, two men showed up, asking them if they had water.  Wilson hastened to brush them off. They were Arabs, she said. The men soon left, but nagged by a feeling something was amiss, Wilson said she and her friend headed back to the marked path.

Stabilized but still in intensive care, Wilson spoke to the press from her hospital bed Sunday. Wilson told the media that after the men left, she got her small knife ready. A "woman's knife," she called it. But the men came back out of nowhere with a long knife and attacked them both. Noting a curious detail, Wilson told reporters her assailant had removed her Star of David chain "like a gentleman" before proceeding to stab her where it had hung.

Wilson played dead in the bushes, listening to her friend's breathing fading, as Wilson fought to remain conscious until she forced herself to move.

Hundreds of police, soldiers, emergency personnel and volunteers searched for Logan. The next morning, she was found dead. A gag order has been issued on all details from the crime scene where Logan was found Sunday morning. 

According to the Jerusalem Post: 

Her (Wilson's) stab wounds were superficial and she did not lose a lot of blood, according to a spokesman at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem. She suffered moderate-to-light injuries, and was treated in the trauma unit.

The spokesman refused to give any more details, saying the case was in police hands, and declined to let doctors speak to the press.

Kay remained conscious on the way to the hospital, Magen David Adom paramedics said.

According to another report in the Jerusalem Post: 

Wilson and Luken had been hiking in the woods when two Arab men asked Wilson for water in Hebrew, she said. After they disappeared from view, Wilson became uneasy about their intentions, and told Luken they should return to Mata. 

(Wilson) was stabbed and seriously wounded and handcuffed, but managed to drag herself to the road. There she saw two families, who called the police. “There have been no claims [of responsibility] by [terrorist] organizations,” (Police spokesman Mickey) Rosenfeld noted. 

According to other reports, Wilson was described as having her hands "tied":

"Her hands were tied, she was stabbed in the upper part of her body, she claimed that two Arabs stabbed her," (police spokesman Mickey) Rosenfeld said. Wilson was evacuated in moderate to serious condition at Jerusalem's Hadassah hospital.

According to the Virtual Jerusalem site:

Logan and British immigrant Kaye Susan Wilson, a tour guide, hiked in a dry river bed near Beit Shemesh, west of Jerusalem, after Wilson had completed a tour with a group...Wilson rents a home at the religious-secular Givat Ze'ev community, located west of Jerusalem on Highway 443.

In a separate incident, police arrested an Arab who recently was freed from prison and tried to stab a woman near the entrance to Hadassah Mount Scopus hospital. Authorities said the man pulled out a knife and chased his intended victim, who ran towards security guards at the hospital entrance while police were alerted and arrived at the scene to arrest him.  The terrorist said he was trying to erase suspicions raised by friends who suspected he cooperates with Israel to help fight terror. 

From the Jerusalem Post:

The two went hiking on Saturday afternoon in the hills near Mata, midway between Tsur Hadassah and Beit Shemesh. The area includes part of the Israel National Trail and is a popular weekend destination for families. They brought Wilson’s small brown dog Peanut, who often joins Wilson’s tours and is very popular with clients. Peanut was found, unharmed, by rescue workers on Saturday night.


Jerusalem stabbing: Is history repeating itself or something more sinister?

by Radell Smith - The Examiner

Jerusalem was the scene of a murder this past weekend--or at least the hills beyond the city were, according to Fox News. Two women--Kay Susan Wilson and Kristine Luken (formerly believed to be named Christine Logan) were allegedly stabbed during a hike outside the city by two Arab men.

Susan Wilson, one of the alleged victims, lived; Kristine Luken, the other woman, died from stab wounds. 

Jerusalem stabbing victims: previously all male

Stabbings in and right outside of Jerusalem are not uncommon, per se, but they are few and far between. The circumstances and victims in this particular attack are, according to records analyzed from the Jerusalem Post by this profiler--unusual, to say the least.

Victims of stabbings in Jerusalem since 2006--and there aren't that many--have all been male. And one victim was actually an Arab male; whereas the recent stabbing attack alleged by Susan Wilson, the surviving woman in this "attack," was allegedly perpetrated by two Arab males. 

Terrorists not stabbers typically, more into bombing

Terrorism has been named by Israeli police as a possible motive for this crime, but it isn't supported by any groups claim and the police are not ruling out criminal intent from another source.

Jerusalem is a hotbed for terrorist attention, but it is normally focused on Israeli soldiers and Israeli citizens who live and work in the West Bank, bordering Palestine. Neither female is alleged to have had any political affiliations that would have prompted a terroristic attack.

Personal more than terroristic?

The unusual circumstances--one woman buried beneath a bush, the other left out in the open (one murdered, the other left alive)--raise all kinds of speculation and conjecture that make it a crime more likely personal in nature rather than terroristic, where all victims are treated the same.

The stabbings in Jerusalem to date, which preceded this weekends alleged attack against the two women, include male teen victims and their male attackers (who had anti-semetic leanings); an off-duty male soldier at a nightclub, and a domestic dispute that escalated between two males. 

No prior female stabbings

Female stabbings are a rarity and none have been reported in the Jerusalem Post at all in recent years except a 70-year-old woman's stabbing in her home, but she was the victim of theft.

In addition, the male stabbings that did get reported were all involving people from the region--not British or American citizens, lending no credible support that this alleged attack is motivated politically.

Kristine Luken is alleged to have been formerly of the state of Virginia in the U.S., according to WUSA Channel 9 News, and she is said to have been in the country on a mission endeavor with a group known as "The Church's Ministry among Jewish People (CMJ)."

Fox News reported that Susan Wilson had become a naturalized citizen in Israel, orginially hailing from Britian. She would, therefore, be familiar with news of stabbings in the area in previous years and worked as a part time tourist guide, inevitably very familiar with the danger zones of the city and any potential threat of danger. 

Religion a factor?

Susan Wilson told the Israeli police that the alleged attackers turned her over to "gently" remove her Star of David necklace before stabbing her where it lay.

This is so out of character for anyone targeting her for religious or terroristic reasons it makes those considerations almost a moot point. Anyone who hated Star of David jewelry enough to stab the victim where the star had lain on their body would not have gently removed the necklace first. They would have desired to destroy it along with her.
Anyone with a high regard for a Star of David necklace enough to carefully remove it wouldn't then likely go on to stab the wearer of it. And terrorists who opposed the faith altogether wouldn't have bothered to take the necklace at all. 

Missionary effort the reason for death?

Susan Wilson was familiar with the terrain as a tourist guide. She was cognizant of the prior--but rare--stabbings against men in the area, and the tensions between the Arabs and Jews, yet she felt safe enough to hike in the area. Wilson was a Jewish follower herself, or she appreciated their culture enough to wear a Star of David necklace.
Kristine Luken entered the country as a missionary in order to introduce Jewish people to the Christian faith. That can create hostilities. But those hostile to missionaries seek to harm more than one at a time, generally, and she was not with the missionary group on the day of her death. 

Personal conflict between two women or two unkown Arab men assailants responsible?

Fox News reported that Israeli police had scoured the countryside almost immediately upon Susan Wilson's presence becoming known, but to no avail. Law enforcement checked out hospitals for any males treated for knife wounds, as Wilson claimed to have a small knife on her own person during the attack--and to have used it.
No Arab men were found at or near the scene; no Arab men with wounds were treated at any of the hospitals checked. No Arab terrorists have claimed credit for the attacks and no Arab men have been arrested or sought in connection with the crime as of Sunday evening. 

Knife use

Stabbings in Jerusalem have, historically, been perpetrated by either male teens, bar brawling men or males living in close proximity of one another. Knives are not generally the bread, serrated types used in these altercations, with men favoring switchblades and pocket knives more as they are smaller and easier to conceal.

Bread knives

Women tend to use serrated bread knives as protection, especially when they are unable to enter a country with a gun or other form of protection. Hikers have uses for such knives, too, especially if they plan to make camp or prepare any meals during their excursion. And their larger bags or hiking packs accommodate carrying such larger weapons. 

Another Jerusalem stabbing or something else?

Israeli police are likely to exhaust all possible connections to an Arab assault before seeking to reinterview the alleged victim Susan Wilson prior to her release from a Jerusalem hospital in the next few days.

If police find no evidence of any alleged assailants--or if they find Kristine Luken's blood on Wilson's personal knife, which she said she carried with her that day--and used on the assailants, then they will likely begin looking for a personal motive in the stabbing of the missionary this weekend and why Susan Wilson suffered light wounds (and was left out in the open, to escape), but Kristine Luken was stabbed deeper, confirmed dead, and buried beneath bushes.

References: The Jerusalem Post and Fox News

Stabbed US Jerusalem tourist: Survivor guilty of political unrest, murder? 

by Radell Smith - The Examine

Kristine Luken was the 40-year-old American tourist stabbed to death in Jerusalem this week. Her older friend, 46-year-old (Kay/Kaye) Susan Wilson, formerly of Britian--now a naturalized Israeli citizen--was able to allegedly escape her two male Arabic captors and find her way to safety and freedom, according to Fox News. 

Two Arabic men approach

According to Susan Wilson, she and her younger friend (originally thought to be named Christine Logan) were in the hills on the outside of Jerusalem, resting. Two Arabic men approached and asked for water. The two women assisted and started to then walk away, Wilson said.

"It all happened so fast. They came and attacked us," Wilson said.

Fox News reported that the Israeli police indicated no signs of sexual assault or robbery had been evidenced, eliminating that Susan Wilson was attacked for the purpose of sexual deviance or financial gain. Her friend, Kristine Luken was not mentioned in this regard, leaving her death potentially due to one of these motivations, but there are others, as this story is rife with contradictions.

Jerusalem has had hiker stabbings in the past, so it is a possibility, but they were attacks against Israeli's and that was as long ago as the 1990s, according to Fox. No recent hiker attacks--and none involving foreigners have been reported since. 

Polticially motivated?

Fox News reported that there were no Palestinian claims of militant attacks on any foreigners--as is commonly done--after the murder of Kristine Luken was made known and Susan Wilson was hospitalized.

Terrorism hinges on making terroristic acts known worldwide in the media. It is how they sow fear in the hearts of others and grow their groups recognition nationally. For a militant group not to claim an attack is counter productive, but that has not occurred to date for this murder. 

One knife, Two stabbing men

According to Susan Wilson, one of the two men brandished a knife once the women had supplied water and sought to return to the hiking trail.

"Like a bread knife, with a serrated edge," Wilson said.

Wilson then said that Luken became hysterical upon seeing the knife, which prompted the men to start stabbing them.

"It was clear that they came to kill. Who carries around a knife like that?"

But two men intent on murder don't leave behind a living victim--whether they "play dead" or not, as Wilson claims to have done.

Terrorists don't use bread knives to do what Arabs normally do to people they want to use as their national terroristic messenger either; Arab terrorists sending a message typically behead their victims and they use a machete or a real knife--not a bread knife, to do it. 

Killer steals Star of David necklace "gently"

Susan Wilson said that at one point one of her Arabic assailants stopped during the assault to "gently" take a Star of David necklace off of her and "then turned me around and stabbed in the place where the Star of David had been."
Wilson also said that she played dead (called "playing possum" in the South) for about two minutes after the men left, even though she could hear her friend dying. She then left the scene, going to a nearby parking lot for help. 

Police position

Kristine Luken's body was found buried under some bushes on Sunday, after Susan Wilson found help and a large manhunt ensued for the two Arabic "killers." Israeli police have searched for the two males, even going as far as to contact hospitals to see if they sought treatment for potential cuts of their own, as it is a fact that many knife-using criminals cut themselves during the course of such a crime.

Jerusalem hospitals had no record of any such patient, according to Fox News. And law enforcement in the city have not ruled out criminal conduct even though they espouse it appears to be a politically motivated crime. 


Kay Susan Wilson is older than the victim murdered, but she is the one who "escaped." Wilson is the naturalized Israeli citizen who would come under target more terroristically in Jerusalem by Palestinian militants than an American, but it was Luken who was murdered.

Stabbings with a bread knife are more common in domestic disputes between partners and friends than as a weapon chosen by terrorists who "came to kill," as Wilson alleges. Men who "come to kill" do so. Men who "come to kill" don't leave one body unburied and the other hidden under bushes either. They treat both the same.

Murderous men who are terrorists don't "gently" remove (or care for owning) a Star of David necklace, as they stab a person. They certainly don't interrupt a blood bath to remove a piece of jewelry and then begin again. And two men bring two knives--they don't share one.

Lastly, Susan Wilson's wounds were light--self inflicted wounds are light. Some stabbing death scenes in which an additional person was present but suffers only superficial or light wounds is due to the other person being the guilty party. Their wounds can be self-inflicted or they can be evidence that the victim was able to injure the perpetrator during the fight to some degree.

Dr. Yuval Weiss, Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital Director, told the Army Radio that Kaye Susan Wilson was likely to be released within a matter of days. Hopefully, Israeli Police will get to the bottom of the crime before then.

Reference: Fox News and My Fox NY

More oddities:  Man claims two assailants in same area "with Arab accents" identified themselves as police, then proceeded to snatch his girl friend's handbag.  Police ignored his complaint and did not follow up:

Man who was attacked where Luken's body found: Police ignored me,7340,L-4002668,00.html

About a year ago Miki and his female companion were assaulted, robbed by 'two men with an Arab accent' in same mountainous region where tourist Kristine Luken was murdered. 'Police didn't even ask me to help draw composite sketch of assailants,' he claims

Miki, a central Israel resident who was assaulted and robbed about a year ago by two men in the mountainous region where Kristine Luken's body was found on Sunday, said police ignored his complaint.

Speaking to Ynet on Tuesday, Miki said "I told them (police) everything that happened, but they were reluctant to investigate."

About six months ago a female hiker was attacked in the same mountains outside Jerusalem, and a few months prior to that incident Miki and a female companion were assaulted there as well.

"We left the car behind and began walking down the trail. Suddenly, two men wearing hoodies walked toward us from a different trail. One of them yelled 'police,' but could tell by his accent that he was Arab. They lunged at us. One of them was holding a knife and beat me," Miki recalled.

The woman, whose handbag was snatched by the robbers, fled. "They stayed to continue beating me. They didn't use the knife. They hit me and kicked me in the face. They took whatever they wanted and left," Miki said.

His female companion hid in the bushes. "I looked for her and yelled out her name, but she came out of the bushes only after a few minutes," Miki said.
The two were driven by a nun to a nearby monastery, where they contacted police. They were later evacuated to a hospital by ambulance. "I was certain the police would do more to catch them. I gave them an exact description of the assailants, but they didn't take me too seriously. They didn't even ask me to help them draw a composite sketch of the assailants," Miki claimed.

"The three attacks are too similar. I expected the police to make the connection," he told Ynet. 

Jerusalem District Police said it had launched an investigation into the attack on Miki and his friend. Senior police officials said the incidents are not necessarily related.

1 comment:

Therese said...

The Ami Ortiz case may be of relevance here. For a long time, this attack on a Christian missionary was said to be the work of Arabs.

It is very suspicious, in case of the recent stabbing, that we have detailed descriptions of the weapon - a bread knife - but not of the two attackers. What were their heights? Ages? Appearance and clothing? Such descriptions are always circulated after a crime.