DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Several armed men targeted a family from the United Arab Emirates by forcing their way into their London apartment, weeks after a similar attack in the British capital, state media in the Gulf nation and police said Wednesday.
The attacks have been front-page news in the Emirates, where violent crime is rare. The country has longstanding ties to the United Kingdom, and London is a popular destination for Emirati tourists and other wealthy Arabs from the Gulf.
The Emirates' ambassador to Britain, Abdulrahman Ghanem al-Mutaiwee, was quoted by the country's official WAM news agency as saying that seven people were involved in the attack, some of them wielding hammers, knives and guns.
They stole money, jewelry and credit cards from the Emirati man and his wife, he said. British police confirmed details of the robbery, saying it happened in the Paddington area of central London early Tuesday. They said the victims were an Emirati couple and an Emirati acquaintance in their 40s and 50s.
No arrests have been made. On April 6, a man entered an upscale London hotel room and battered three sisters from the Emirates. Police said theft was the apparent motive. That attack drew the attention of the top leadership in the Emirates, a seven-state federation that includes Dubai and the oil-rich capital of Abu Dhabi. The Emirati government dispatched a high-level government delegation and police officers to meet with the sisters' family.
All three women in the hotel hammer incident are still in the hospital. One of the victims lost her left eye and has brain injuries, and is described as in "critical but stable condition," according to police.
A London man has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated burglary in the hotel attack, and three other people are charged with handling stolen goods. British police noted the "tragic coincidence" of the two attacks, but say there is no evidence linking them or any indication the latest victims targeted because of their nationality.
Britain recently introduced an electronic visa waiver system for citizens of the UAE, Qatar and Oman, making it easier for those countries' citizens to travel to the U.K.
Associated Press writers Jill Lawless and Sylvia Hui in London contributed to this report.
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