The United Arab Emirates' interior minister said Thursday that police have arrested a female suspect in the stabbing death of an American schoolteacher in the country's capital and revealed that the attacker also planted a bomb outside the home of another expat.
Word of the killing, which left a trail of blood in a public restroom at an Abu Dhabi mall, has rattled the Emirates, a Western-allied, seven-state Gulf federation that includes the commercial hub of Dubai.
Violent crime and attacks are rare in the oil-rich country, which is home to a large foreign-born population that far outnumbers Emirati citizens.
Interior Minister Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also deputy prime minister, said the attacker targeted her victims based on their nationality in an attempt to create chaos across the country. He called the stabbing a crime that is "alien to our secure country."
"The victim of this brutal crime was a schoolteacher who was committed to building strong future generations," he told reporters.
After stabbing the woman at the Boutik Mall on Abu Dhabi's upscale Reem Island, the attacker left a makeshift bomb at the house of a 46-year-old Egyptian-American doctor in the prominent waterfront Corniche area.
One of the doctor's sons discovered the device as he headed out for sunset prayers at a local mosque, and police were able to dismantle it before it could cause any damage, the interior minister said.
The bomb, which authorities described as primitive, included small gas cylinders, a lighter, glue and nails.
Police said the attacker used a butcher's knife and was wearing the full black veil commonly worn by women throughout the Gulf Arab region. Emirati authorities identified the victim by the initials I.R. and said she was 47 years old.
Footprints Recruiting, a Vancouver-based company that found a job for the victim, gave her name as Ibolya Ryan.
"We await the results of the ongoing police investigation before making conclusions about why this senseless tragedy occurred," the company said. "We are confident that the UAE in general and Abu Dhabi in particular remains a safe environment in which to live and work."
David Duerden, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi, said the mission is working with authorities to gather further information and is in contact with the victim's family. It has not released the victim's name, citing privacy considerations.
Police earlier said the victim had 11-year-old twins and that they were being kept in protective custody until their father, the victim's ex-husband, arrived in the country.
The Emirates, an increasingly popular tourist destination is home to the world's tallest skyscraper and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix auto race. It is one of the more prominent Arab members of the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. The U.S. and its Western allies rely on air bases in the country, and Emirati fighter pilots have carried out multiple missions as part of the bombing campaign.
The Associated Press