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London assailant sought ‘murder’ of UAE women

Police hold four suspects in custody: three men on suspicion of attempted murder, and a woman on suspicion of handling stolen goods

Shounaz Meky

Published: Updated:

The father of three Emirati women who were attacked in a London hotel this week said the perpetrator intended to kill them, a United Arab Emirates-based daily reported Wednesday.

Jaafar Nasser al-Najjar told Emarat al-Youm that although his daughters had valuable possessions in their hotel room, the attacker left without stealing anything.

Najjar said he did not know why the perpetrator wanted to kill his daughters, but hitting their heads with a hammer made his intentions clear.

The attack on Fatimah, Uhoud and Kholoud happened at around 2:00 am in a room on the seventh floor of the Cumberland Hotel.

One of them remains in a critical condition in hospital, Agence France-Presse quoted British police as saying on Wednesday.

The other two are also in hospital, but their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Najjar told the newspaper his health had deteriorated after learning of the attack.

“I wish I could be among them, but I’m 70 years old and I can’t travel due to a spinal disc problem,” he said.

A statement by Scotland Yard Police on Wednesday said they were holding four suspects in custody: three men on suspicion of attempted murder, and a woman on suspicion of handling stolen goods.

Al Arabiya’s correspondent Mostapha Zarou said the police have 24 hours to investigate the suspects, a period that could also be stretched to 36 hours before deciding to either bail any of them or charge them with a criminal offence.

Police said there had been no breach of security at the hotel. This was confirmed to Al Arabiya News by a hotel spokesperson.

The hotel is urging “anyone who may have seen a man act suspiciously in the hotel, possibly loitering, to contact the police,” the spokesperson said.

Detectives are scouring security camera footage to establish the movements of the victims and the suspects.

One Kuwaiti tourist who was staying in the same floor as the sister’s said “What we heard is that there was a person who was following women to steal from them.”

The incident has also created doubts over the hotel’s safety.

One British citizen told Al Arabiya News that “people will start worrying if they stay in this hotel, which is located in a safe area,” adding “this will also affect how people view London.”

Meanwhile, another Kuwaiti tourist said “these kinds of incidents happen, and it doesn’t mean that London is a dangerous city.”

An Emirati tourist urged London authorities to heighten its security on all hotels, and make sure there were cameras.