Police in Abu Dhabi trumpeted their arrest of a suspect Thursday in the stabbing death of an American teacher with a slickly-produced video (embedded below) purportedly showing officers getting their instructions and racing through city streets to an opulent home where they executed a dramatic raid.
Monday’s murder of Ibolya Ryan, 47, by a burka-clad assailant who lay in wait in a women’s room at a mall shocked the oil-rich emirate where violent crime is rare. Ryan, the mother of twin 11-year-old boys, was a Romanian-born American citizen who trained as a teacher before being assigned to the United Arab Emirates in September 2013, said Ben Glickman, CEO of Canadian-based Footprints Recruiting, which placed her in the job.
On Thursday, the United Arab Emirates’ interior minister said police had arrested a female suspect in the killing, and a six-minute video was soon posted on the Twitter account of Abu Dhabi’s police. The clip, a “Cops” meets “24” production complete with a pulsating soundtrack, shows police in riot gear mustering with a superior garbed in a white robe before racing through city streets. At the home, they barge in through the door shouting, and the video culminates in an unidentified person kneeling and surrendering inside the home.
Authorities also led away an unidentified woman, climb a ladder to the roof of the home and ransack rooms. Some scenes are shot in first-person, reminiscent of the video game series “Call of Duty.”
“With God’s grace & exceptional follow-up by UAE leaders, our security forces have detained the face-covered criminal,” Abu Dhabi’s police posted on its Twitter account.
The stabbing came inside the Boutik Mall in Abu Dhabi’s upscale Reem Island. In video footage released Wednesday by police, the suspect is seen calmly walking into the mall and picking up a paper before disappearing down a hallway. An hour and a half later, the suspect reappears and races toward an elevator. A woman tries to stop the suspect before she enters, but retreats. The suspect then quickly walks out the doors of the mall.
Col. Rashid Borshid, head of the Criminal Investigation Department, told The Associated Press that a fight broke out between the victim and the attacker in the women’s restroom just before the stabbing.
Authorities revealed Thursday that the attacker also planted a bomb outside the home of an American doctor, but police dismantled it after it was discovered by a son of the physician. The bomb was primitive, and included small gas cylinders, a lighter, glue and nails, Interior Minister Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan said.
Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also deputy prime minister, said the attacker targeted her victims based on their nationality alone in an attempt to create chaos and terrorize 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.
The identity of the attacker has not yet been revealed.
Ryan’s ex-husband, and the father of the twins, flew from the U.S. to the UAE to collect the boys, Glickman said.
The stabbing and the bombing attempt came on the heels of a security warning from the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi in late October, advising Americans of a “recent anonymous posting on a Jihadist website that encouraged attacks against teachers at American and other international schools in the Middle East.
“The Mission is unaware of any specific, credible threat against any American or other school or individual in the United Arab Emirates (UAE),” the warning reads. “Nonetheless, the Mission is working with local schools identified with the United States to review their security posture.”
On Wednesday, the embassy said it a statement that it is “working with all the appropriate authorities to seek further information” about the killing and advised Americans to keep a low profile while traveling in public.
The UAE is a Western-allied, seven-state federation that includes the glitzy commercial hub of Dubai and the oil-rich capital of Abu Dhabi. It is home to a sizable Western population where foreigners outnumber Emirati citizens.
The country prides itself on being a safe haven in the turbulent Middle East. The UAE is part of the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes against Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria.
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