BEIRUT — Lebanese authorities have detained a man suspected of killing a British woman who worked at the UK Embassy in Beirut, a Beirut official said Monday.
The official said that the suspect confessed to killing the woman, whose body was found early on Saturday.
The official added that the murder was a “criminal act” and not politically motivated.
Britain’s Foreign Office had confirmed the death of the embassy staffer, who worked for the Department for International Development. British media and friends identified her as Rebecca Dykes.
Earlier, a forensics official said she was strangled with a rope and that authorities were investigating whether she was also sexually assaulted.
The police and the forensics official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.
In a Sunday statement released by Britain’s Foreign Office, Dyke’s family requested that the media respect their privacy “at this very difficult time.”
“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Rebecca. We are doing all we can to understand what happened,” her family said.
Friends said she was supposed to fly home for Christmas that day.
“The whole embassy is deeply shocked and saddened by this news. Our thoughts are with Becky’s family, friends and colleagues for their tragic loss,” British Ambassador to Lebanon Hugo Shorter said in a statement.
A Lebanese security official confirmed that the body of a woman was found by the side of a road east of Beirut early Saturday and that she was later identified as a staffer at the British embassy in Lebanon.