UPDATE 1 – British diplomat found murdered in the Lebanese capital Beirut

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A woman who worked at the British embassy in the Lebanese capital of Beirut has been found dead along a local highway, local and British officials say. She is believed to have been sexually assaulted and strangled.

The woman, who has been identified as 30-year-old Rebecca Dykes, was found on Saturday on the side of the Metn Expressway in Sin el Fil. A preliminary examination showed that she was raped and strangled, according to local authorities.

Dykes had worked as the program and policy manager for the Department for International Development since January 2017, the BBC reported. There was no immediate indication that her death was linked to her work at the British embassy.

“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 as we come together as a family at this very difficult time.”

No arrests were made as of Sunday evening but the investigation is still underway.

“Following the death of a British woman in Beirut, we are providing support to the family,” a spokesperson for the Foreign Office said. “We remain in close contact with local authorities. Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.”

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