JERUSALEM - Israeli police discovered the body of an American woman, hands bound and full of stab wounds, in a rugged forest outside Jerusalem yesterday, a day after a friend said Arab assailants attacked the pair during a hike in the hills.

The friend, who suffered light wounds but managed to escape, said one of the two attackers approached them with what looked like a long bread knife and carefully removed her Star of David necklace before stabbing her where it had hung.

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.

Rosenfeld identified the slain woman as Christine Logan, a 40-year-old American tourist. Her hometown was not released.

Logan's friend, Kaye Susan Wilson, reported Logan missing on Saturday after the two were attacked in a forest near the Jewish farming community of Mata, some 12 miles southwest of Jerusalem. The forest is inside Israel but close to the border with the West Bank and the Palestinian villages of Husan and Wadi Fukin.

Wilson, a naturalized Israeli citizen originally from Britain, managed to escape, although covered in blood and with her hands bound behind her back.

Speaking to Israeli reporters from her hospital bed, Wilson described the attack, saying she and her friend were resting in the woods when two Arab men approached and asked for water.

She said they felt "something wasn't right" and tried to walk away. Wilson said they thought the men had left, but she took out a small knife anyway - apparently to protect herself. The men then reappeared and attacked.

"It all happened so fast," Wilson said. One of the men took out what looked like "a bread knife with a serrated edge," she said. Logan "became hysterical" and the men began to stab them.

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

At one point, she said, one of the assailants 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 said she pretended to be dead, even though she could hear her friend dying. "Her breath sounded like bubbles," she said.

Wilson said she waited for two minutes, then made her way back to a parking lot several hundred yards away where she found help.

Hospital staff cut off the interview after several minutes. Later in the day, they said Wilson - exhausted, traumatized and suffering from light stab wounds - no longer wanted to speak.