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Four Palestinians suspected of killing U.S. tourist
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Four Palestinians have been arrested and charged with the murder of an American tourist and attempted killing of another woman, both of whom were stabbed in December while hiking near Jerusalem, police said on Wednesday.
"It was politically motivated," Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, announcing the arrests and indictments.
He said the four Palestinians had also been charged in Jerusalem District Court with the murder in February of an Israeli woman in the same area near the occupied West Bank.
The body of Kristine Luken, a member of an evangelical group that promotes Christianity among Jews, was found on December 19 in a forested area outside Jerusalem.
Her hiking companion, Kaye Wilson, a Briton who immigrated to Israel, said at the time that she and Luken, a U.S. citizen, were attacked and stabbed by two Arabic-speaking men. Wilson played dead and later alerted police.
Rosenfeld said that DNA and other forensic evidence linked the four suspects, all of them residents of the West Bank, to the crime. Police initially had given the dead woman's name as Christine Logan.
Palestinian attacks on Israeli citizens in and around the West Bank have become rare in the past few years. Stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have raised concern in the Jewish state that such attacks would increase.
Negotiations broke down last year over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's refusal to impose new curbs on settlement building in the West Bank, part of the territories where the Palestinians seek to establish a state.
(Writing by Maayan Lubell)
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