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Briton 1 of 2 apparently killed in Libya

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Britain's Foreign Office says one of the foreigners found dead is a UK national
  • New Zealand is looking into reports that one of its nationals is the other victim
  • The two appeared to be having a picnic when they were killed, the Sabratha Media Center says
  • The bodies were found in a remote area near a partially built resort

By Lindsay Isaac and Jomana Karadsheh

TRIPOLI, Libya (CNN) -- One of two foreigners apparently killed and their bodies found on a beach in Libya has been positively identified as a Briton, the British government said on Friday.

"We are aware of the tragic death of a British national in Libya. We stand ready to provide consular assistance," said Foreign Office spokesman Neil Hulbert.

The bodies were discovered on Tallil Seyahi Beach on the outskirts of the coastal city of Sabratha west of Tripoli, according to the Sabratha Media Center, a local activist news group.

The Sabratha Media Center released a statement, translated by CNN, that also identified one person as a Briton and the other as a New Zealander.

The group said the pair had been killed.

"At the time we record our extreme regret and disturbance over the killing of the two victims - one British and the other a New Zealander - and while we wait for the results of the investigation that aims to find the perpetrator, the Sabratha Local Council and the residents of the area offer their deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and to the states of Britain and New Zealand as this act is contrary to our morals and values of our religion," the group said.

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was trying to confirm that one of those found was one of its citizens.

"We are working with the relevant authorities to confirm this," said spokesman Adham Crichton. "The bodies have not yet been formally identified and the next of kin have not yet been informed."

The two foreigners were reported missing and police were searching for them when the bodies were discovered, the Sabratha Media Center said. It was not immediately clear from the media center how long the two were missing.

An initial police investigation shows the two were on a picnic in a somewhat remote area near a partially built resort.

A photo posted on the Sabratha Media Center Facebook page purports to show the man and woman, who are lying face down in the sand. Near the bodies is a blanket that is spread out, with food and drinks strewn about. A backpack was nearby.

CNN could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the photo, which the Sabratha Media Center said it obtained and posted on Facebook.

According to an initial police investigation, there were tire marks in the area.

Investigators are looking for possible motives, officials said.

In recent weeks there has been a rise in crime in the area, including a Libyan man who was killed during a reported carjacking, according to the media center.

The beaches in and around Sabratha are among some of the most developed on Libya's western coastline. They were a popular destination for picnics and swimming among foreigners before the 2011 uprising that ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
   
 CNN's Sara Mazloumsaki and Chelsea J. Carter contributed to this report.
   
 The-CNN-Wire
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