BEIRUT — Lebanese police have arrested a man suspected of killing a British woman who worked for her country's embassy in Beirut.
Younis Awdi, an adviser for Lebanon's defense minister, told The Washington Post on Monday that a man named Tarek Harb has been arrested in the death of Rebecca Dykes. Dykes's body was found several hours after she left a bar Friday night in Gemmayzeh, a neighborhood in the Lebanese capital known for restaurants and cocktail bars.
Awdi said Dykes was out with friends and called an Uber before midnight. The state-run National News Agency reported that the driver drove to a nearby neighborhood where Dykes lived but did not drop her off there.
Awdi said Dykes was raped before she was killed and thrown on the side of a highway several miles away. But a forensic official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to reporters, said more tests are being done to determine whether Dykes was raped.
The forensic official placed Dykes’s time of death at about 4 a.m. Saturday. Markings on her body indicate that a tiny rope was used to strangle her and that she fought her attacker, the official said.
The Associated Press reported that Dykes had no money, phone or forms of identification when her body was found Saturday.
Investigators tracked Harb through surveillance footage, which captured his car in Gemmayzeh and in the area where Dykes’s body was found, Awdi said. The AP reported that the suspect, a Lebanese national, was detained at his apartment.
Harb was jailed on drug charges in 2015 and was released earlier this year, Lebanese security sources said.
The Department for International Development, a division within the British Embassy where Dykes worked, confirmed her death in a statement Sunday.
“The whole embassy is deeply shocked, saddened by this news. My thoughts are with Becky’s family, friends and colleagues for their tragic loss,” Hugo Shorter, Britain's ambassador to Lebanon, said in a tweet Sunday. “We’re providing consular support to her family & working very closely with Lebanese authorities who are conducting police investigation.”
Friends told the AP that Dykes was planning to fly home for Christmas on Saturday.
“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Rebecca. 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,” her family said in a statement.
Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk praised Lebanon’s security agencies for the swift arrest of the suspect.
— Phillips reported from Washington