A young woman working in the British Embassy in Lebanon has been found dead in Beirut, according to local police.
The body of Rebecca Dykes, 30, from London, was found early Saturday morning on the side of a Beirut highway.
A full investigation is under way, but early reports from police suggest the woman was sexually assaulted and strangled after leaving a bar in Gemmayze, an area in the center of the Lebanese capital.
After being found without any identification, local police circulated her description on Saturday in an attempt to identify the deceased.
“The whole embassy is deeply shocked, saddened by this news,” Hugo Shorter, British ambassador to Lebanon, wrote on Twitter. “My thoughts are with Becky’s family, friends and colleagues for their tragic loss. We’re providing consular support to her family and working very closely with Lebanese authorities who are conducting police investigation.”
“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Rebecca,” her family said in a statement. “We are doing all we can to understand what happened. We request that the media respect our privacy.”
Before leaving the bar to go home, Dykes was attending a farewell party for an embassy colleague. Party attendees were asked to give statements to police.
Dykes had been working in Lebanon since January. She previously worked in Libya and Iraq as a policy manager and research analyst with Britain’s Foreign Office.
“Following the death of a British woman in Beirut, we are providing support to the family,” a spokesperson with the Foreign Office said in a statement. “We remain in close contact with local authorities. Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.”
By Brooks Hays