Trial begins for killers of hiker Kristine Luken

Victim's friend who survived by playing dead after being stabbed 12 times gives moving testimony of terror attack in Jerusalem forest.

Kristine Luke 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Kristine Luke 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The trial began on Sunday for two of the main suspected terrorists responsible for murdering American Kristine Luken in a terror attack in December of last year, while she was hiking in the Jerusalem Forest with her friend Kay Wilson. The attackers also attempted to kill Wilson, who barely managed to escape with her life.
Wilson’s testimony to the police after the attack provided enough information to break up a ring of 13 Palestinian terrorists responsible for two murders, two attempted murders, at least one rape and a series of other violent crimes.
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The two main suspects, Ayad Fasafa and Kafah Animat, both from villages around Hebron, were arrested less than 48 hours after the attack and confessed to the crime. Forensic evidence, including a small penknife that Wilson used to stab one of her attackers, also implicated the men in the crime.
In moving testimony on Sunday, Wilson recounted the events of December 18, 2010, while staring straight at the men accused of murdering Luken.
She recalled how the two had been hiking outside of Beit Shemesh in the forest when two men attacked them, binding their hands behind their backs with shoelaces, gagging them with parts of a fleece jacket and stabbing them multiple times with a 30 cm.-long serrated knife. Wilson, who played dead, was stabbed 12 times and suffered several broken ribs, a punctured lung and a broken sternum.
Luken was stabbed to death.
Wilson described the heartwrenching decision she had to make, whether to stay with Kristine for Luken’s last breaths, which meant Wilson would also bleed to death, or to try to make it to the path so someone would know what happened. Bleeding heavily, she staggered for more than 1,200 m. barefoot to a parking lot where a picnicking family alerted the authorities and paramedics.
“She so did not deserve this, to be attacked and to go like that,” said Dean Luken outside the courtroom. “There was nothing mean about her, she did not deserve this. I hope they are convicted and sentenced and imprisoned and I hope they rot in hell,” he said, adding that it was a shame that Israel did not have the death penalty.
“She was happy to be here and she wanted to be here on vacation, and that’s all it was, the wrong place at the wrong time, I guess,” Luken added with tears in his eyes. “Unfortunately they were looking to kill Jews and she happened to be caught up in that.”
Surprisingly, the Israeli courts also did not provide a translator for Luken, who relied on Wilson’s friends to provide a rough translation of the intricate proceedings. The state prosecutor said that a translator may be provided in the future but there were no guarantees. The suspects were arrested on December 21, 2010, in a joint IDF-Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) operation and during their interrogation confessed to perpetrating the attack and reenacted it in the field.
During their interrogation, one of the suspects, Kafah Animat, confessed to the February 2010 murder of Neta Blatt, a teacher who was found dead near Beit Shemesh and had been considered a suicide.
The suspects also confessed to perpetrating additional stabbing and shooting attacks with the declared goal of murdering Jews. They were not believed to have been affiliated with an organized terrorist group.
Shin Bet sources said that the suspects succeeded in entering Israel through gaps in the security barrier near Betar Illit.
“They decided they wanted to kill someone that day,” a Shin Bet source said in January