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British Embassy Worker Found Dead Near Beirut

Police have launched an investigation after a woman working at the British Embassy was found strangled on a roadside outside the capitol city of Beirut on Saturday, Lebanese officials said.

NPR's Ruth Sherlock has confirmed with the embassy that the victim is Rebecca Dykes, a British national.

"We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Rebecca," her family said in a statement, released by the Foreign Office. "We are doing all we can to understand what happened. We request that the media respect our privacy."

Dykes had been out with friends and colleagues at a bar in Beirut in the hours before she was found, reports Sherlock.

Lebanese police are also reportedly investigating whether Dykes was sexually assaulted.

Friends tell Sherlock that Dykes had been due to fly out of the country early Saturday morning to celebrate Christmas at home.

She had been in the country since January, reports the BBC, working as the program and policy manager for the Department for International Development.

"The whole embassy is deeply shocked, saddened by this news," British Ambassador to Lebanon Hugo Shorter said on Twitter. "My thoughts are with Becky's family, friends and colleagues for their tragic loss. We're providing consular support to her family & working very closely with Lebanese authorities who are conducting police investigation."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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