'Jealous' Man Strangled Ex-Wife Then Set Her Car On Fire In 'Honor Killing,' Friends Claim

A woman found strangled to death inside a burning car was murdered by her ex-husband in an "honor killing," her friends have claimed.

Ibtihal Darraji, 29, was discovered in her car near 27th and Fiske Street in Spokane, Washington, on Thursday night. On Monday, the Spokane County Medical Examiner confirmed the cause of death was strangulation and ruled the death a homicide.

Darraji's ex-husband, Yasir Darraji, 30, has been charged with first-degree murder in her killing.

KHQ reported that Ibtihal Darraji, an Iraqi immigrant, had previously expressed concerns about her safety to her former coworkers at Gonzaga University.

She had been working at St. Aloysius Church, located on the university's campus, until September last year, the church's administrator Don Weber told The Spokesman-Review.

Weber said she had gone to visit her mother in Iraq over the summer and when she returned, she told her colleagues that she was afraid for her life because her family didn't want her to come back to the U.S.

Weber added to the newspaper that he understood that she had been in an "arranged marriage" with Yasir Darraji. He said she gave birth to her daughter when she was around 16 and her son was born a few years later and is now in elementary school.

According to court documents, friends interviewed by police said Yasir Darraji had made several threats towards his ex-wife since their bitter divorce four years ago, The Spokesman-Review reported.

A friend told police Yasir Darraji had threatened to kill his ex-wife if she didn't leave their two children and return to Iraq. He was "very jealous" and angry about her behavior, which included dating and visiting nightclubs, according to KHQ.

"He told her family what she did here. In our culture, what she was doing was not allowed," the friend said.

"He doesn't want anyone around her. He didn't want anyone to help her, stay with her, marry her or date her. He was so mad. In our culture, this is called an 'honor killing.'"

An ex-girlfriend of Yasir Darraji's told investigators that he had threatened to kill her numerous times, according to The Spokesman-Review.

The woman said he had assaulted her while she was pregnant with their baby and once threatened to pour gasoline on her mother's house and burn it to the ground.

She also said that Yasir Darraji always kept a large amount of gasoline at his apartment, according to KHQ.

Yasir Darraji was booked into the Spokane County Jail on a $1 million bond on Friday, online records show.

The Spokane Police Department and the Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney's Office have been contacted for comment.

crime scene
Stock photo. The friends of a woman found dead in a burning car have claimed her ex-husband strangled her in an "honor killing." Getty