Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 October 2019

Fifth suspect arrested in connection with hammer attack on Emirati sisters at London hotel

Metropolitan police said a 32-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. Four other people had earlier been arrested in connection with the attack.
The Cumberland Hotel in central London, where three Emirati women were attacked in their room by an assailant with a hammer. AFP
The Cumberland Hotel in central London, where three Emirati women were attacked in their room by an assailant with a hammer. AFP

A fifth person was arrested on Thursday by detectives investigating the hammer attack on three Emirati sisters in their London hotel room.

The Metropolitan Police have confirmed that a 32-year-old man was arrested in Islington, north London on suspicion of attempted murder.

Khuloud Al Najjar, 36, and her sisters Ohoud, 34, and Fatima, 31, were attacked in their room on the seventh floor of the Cumberland Hotel in central London between 1am and 2am on Sunday by a man wielding a hammer.

The attack shocked not only the UAE but the UK, and Hugh Robertson, minister of state for the foreign and commonwealth office responsible for the Middle East and North Africa, on Thursday night expressed his sympathy for the sisters.

“My thoughts are with the victims and their families,” Mr Robertson said. “I spoke to [Minister of State for Foreign Affairs] Dr Anwar Gargash today to assure him that this is a priority for the UK Metropolitan Police, and that the excellent cooperation between the UK and Abu Dhabi Police will continue.”

Mr Robertson continued: “Attacks of this nature are, fortunately, rare in London. We will do everything within our power to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

A police spokesman said Scotland Yard had secured a 36-hour extension for the four other suspects arrested on Tuesday.

The three men, aged 56, 34 and 32, were detained on suspicion of attempted murder, and a 31-year-old woman, detained on suspicion of handling stolen goods, were also arrested at homes in Islington.

Police in England can hold suspects for 24 hours, after which they must be either charged or released.

However, in cases of serious crime such as attempted murder, officers can apply to a judge for permission to keep suspects in custody for up to 96 hours.

Three children aged 7 to 12 were asleep in an adjoining room when the attack took place. They were unharmed.

Police said the women were attacked after they awoke and disturbed an intruder. Detectives found a hammer at the scene.

Ms Al Najjar remains in a critical condition in hospital. Her sisters have serious but not life-threatening injuries.

Jaffar Nasser Al Najjar, the 70-year-old father of the three women, spoke to The National earlier this week saying he had been left devastated. “My heart is broken to a million pieces and I can’t do anything except to pray that they return safely,” he said.

The British ambassador to the UAE Dominic Jermey said: “After such an appalling incident, our hearts go out to the victims and their families. This is a terrible time for them and I know that all of us from the British community here in the UAE are deeply saddened at the injuries they have suffered.

“From the embassy, we are liaising closely with our UAE counterparts to ensure the authorities have all the information they need to investigate who carried out this attack. I know the Metropolitan Police are working day and night on the investigation. We attach the utmost importance both to the welfare of the victims and to ensuring that those responsible are held to account.”

jbell@thenational.ae

Updated: April 10, 2014 04:00 AM

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