Israeli woman found with hands bound, knife wounds in back, stomach on outskirts of town near Beit Shemesh;
tells police she was assaulted by two Arab men while hiking with her friend, who is missing.
Hundreds of police officers and volunteers begin search
Latest Update: 12.18.10
Police suspect a kidnapping after a 46-year old Israeli woman was found bound Saturday evening near Beit-Shemesh, suffering from knife wounds in the stomach and back. She told police she was stabbed by two Arab men while hiking with her friend, who is missing.
The search for the missing woman is expected to continue into the night, with hundreds of officers, soldiers, and volunteers scouring the hills surrounding Jerusalem. Police say signs of a struggle and blood were found at the scene, and they suspect kidnapping at best, murder at worst.
The injured woman, a tour guide, succeeded in seeking medical attention at the edge of the town near which she was assaulted though her hands were bound. She was hospitalized in critical condition.
"The woman was agitated and had trouble speaking, and refused to tell us anything beyond her first name," one eyewitness from the town of Mata, who summoned rescue forces, told Ynet. "Her clothes were dirty and showed signs of a struggle."
The incident occurred, according to the wounded guide, after she and her friend ended a trip to a winery by hiking in the nearby riverbed.
On their way back they were attacked by two Arab youths, who stabbed them, she said. She succeeded in escaping their clutches, and made her way to a nearby road where, bleeding profusely, she sought help.
Police Commander Aharon Franco told reporters that security forces were streaming into the area to search for the hiker, who has been missing for three hours.
"We succeeded in getting a description of the assailants from the tour guide before she was taken to the hospital," Franco said.
"Right now we know nothing about (the missing woman). The victim gave us a description and we are conducting the search accordingly. We don't know much about the two assailants either."
Some 300-400 police officers and volunteers are on the scene, as well as special forces from the IDF. Helicopters are also circling overhead. So far, blood and signs of struggle were found but no tracks leading to the victim, according to the commander of the Border Guard forces searching the area.
The attack came after a weekend of violence, which saw two murders of young men. In one incident, a 20-year old arab resident of Jaffa was stabbed to death at a Tel Aviv club.
In another incident, a 26-year old arab man from Majd al-Krum was murdered in Nahariya.
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