An American schoolteacher was stabbed to death in a public restroom at a mall in Abu Dhabi by a suspect wearing the full black veil commonly worn by local women throughout the Arab Gulf region, according to video released Wednesday by police.
A statement posted on the Abu Dhabi Interior Ministry’s website said the victim was stabbed Monday with a butcher’s knife that was found by police. The statement said the American woman was a 37-year-old kindergarten teacher. Her name has not been made public.
The victim had 11-year-old twins who are now in the custody of police until their father, who is the victim’s ex-husband, arrives from abroad.
Col. Rashid Borshid, head of the Criminal Investigation Department, said the attacker remains at large. He said police are investigating possible motives and the gender of the attacker, who was wearing a full veil, a long black robe and black gloves.
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He said a fight broke out between the victim and the attacker in the women’s restroom just before the stabbing, which took place on the upscale Reem Island in Abu Dhabi.
Closed-circuit footage released Wednesday by the Interior Ministry shows the suspect dressed in head-to-toe black and entering the mall. The suspect appears to ask mall security where the restroom is and grabs a free magazine on the way inside.
It then shows the suspect running out of the bathroom with other women and fleeing the mall. The video also shows a trail of blood on the bathroom floor.
The U.S. Embassy in the United Arab Emirates said it is aware of the Dec. 1 incident and is in contact with Emirati authorities.
The UAE is a Western-allied, seven-state federation that includes the glitzy commercial hub of Dubai and the oil-rich capital Abu Dhabi. It is home to a sizable Western population, with foreigners outnumbering Emirati citizens.
The UAE prides itself on being a safe haven in the turbulent Middle East. It is part of the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.