An Emirati woman arrested on suspicion of fatally stabbing a U.S. teacher in a bathroom at a United Arab Emirates mall is also accused of placing a handmade bomb in front of an American doctor’s house, the country’s interior minister said Thursday.
Police arrested the woman, identified only as in 30s and a UAE national, Interior Minister Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan said.
More details about the arrest weren’t immediately available.
Police said a veiled woman stabbed American schoolteacher Ibolya Ryan, 47, during a fight in a restroom at the high-end Boutik Mall on Reem Island on Monday.
The alleged attacker was fully covered, donning an abaya — a black, full-length gown traditionally worn by Emirati women — black gloves, a face cover and a hijab, or head scarf, police said. She fled the mall after the attack.
Police believe Ryan, who was married with 11-year-old twins, did not know the attacker, Al Nahyan said.
Later Monday, the suspect placed a primitive bomb in front of a house where an American Muslim doctor lives, said Al Nahyan, adding that authorities had video of the event.
The doctor’s son saw the object and called police, Al Nahyan said. Police defused the device.
Investigators believe that the attacker wanted to create chaos and spread fear, Al Nahyan said. He didn’t discuss possible motives beyond that.
Al Nahyan didn’t say what led police to identify and arrest the suspect.
Surveillance video released by police shows the moments before and after the mall stabbing. A veiled figure that police identified as the attacker walks calmly in through a parking lot entrance, speaking to security guards, picking up a paper and disappearing around the corner out of sight.
The video later shows the suspect running to an elevator and then leaving the mall through the same parking lot doors.
The U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi issued a statement, back in October, warning U.S. citizens of an anonymous Internet post that encouraged attacks against teachers at American and other international schools.
The embassy was unaware of any specific, credible threat at that time, but called on citizens to be vigilant about their personal security.
Reem Island is a newly developed area of Abu Dhabi where many Western expatriates live.
Embassy working with UAE authorities
The U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi said it was “working with all the appropriate authorities to seek further information” about the killing of a U.S. citizen.
“We offer our condolences to those affected by this terrible tragedy,” a spokesman said in an earlier statement. “The safety and welfare of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the Department of State’s highest priorities. We stand ready to provide all possible consular assistance.”
The attack happened at the Boutik mall on Reem Island, a newly developed area of Abu Dhabi where many Western expatriates live.
Video shows suspect
CCTV footage released by police shows the suspect, fully covered, walking calmly in through the parking lot entrance, speaking to security guards, picking up a paper and disappearing around the corner out of sight.
It then shows the suspect running to the elevator, followed by others, and getting into the elevator, before another clip shows the person leaving the mall through the same parking lot doors.
Violent crime in the UAE is rare and eyewitnesses have expressed shock at the incident.
“The Abu Dhabi Police will spare no effort in order to unveil this heinous crime and bring the culprit to justice,” said Borshid.