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Sun 22 Jun 2014 11:14 AM

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Funeral held for Saudi student murdered in UK

British police believe Nahid Almanea, who was stabbed 16 times, may have been targeted for her Muslim dress

Funeral held for Saudi student murdered in UK
Nahid Almanea was captured on CCTV moments before her death.

A funeral has been held for a female Saudi student who was stabbed to death in England last week.

Nahid Almanea’s body was returned to Saudi Arabia on Saturday and a funeral was held immediately, Arab News reported.

British police have said the 31-year-old, who was stabbed 16 times, may have been targeted because of her Muslim dress.

She was wearing a navy blue full-length Abaya and a multi-coloured hijab headscarf and had been walking along an open path when she was attacked at 10.40am on Tuesday, UK media reported.

Police also are investigating whether her murder is linked to that of a man who was stabbed 102 times in a park in the same area in March. That victim had an obvious mental slowness due to a head injury four years ago that made him more vulnerable, according to local media.

“We are conscious that the dress of the victim will have identified her as likely being a Muslim and this is one of the main lines of the investigation but again there is no firm evidence at this time that she was targeted because of her religion,” Detective Superintendent Tracy Hawkings was quoted as saying.

A 52-year-old suspect has been released and police have called for help in identifying a young man seen running from the area about the time of the attack.

The Saudi embassy said its ambassador to the UK was taking an active role in the case.

“Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf expressed in a telephone call on Tuesday to the brother of the deceased his sincerest condolences to her family, affirming the embassy's speed in taking all the procedures for the transfer of the body of the deceased to the kingdom. He also asserted that the case is in his personal attention,” the embassy said in a statement quoted by The Guardian.

The murder has sparked concern among the hundreds of other Saudi students in the UK, who are being offered support.

Nahid has been described as a virtuous woman, who was seeking to serve herself, her people, and homeland through her education and knowledge, Arab News said.