Abu Dhabi Treats U.S. Teacher’s Murder as Terrorist Attack
The interior minister says targets of a stabbing and an attempted bombing were based on victims’ nationality. Does that make this terrorism?
Abu Dhabi police have arrested a suspect in her swank villa for Monday’s stabbing murder of an American teacher in a women’s restroom at the emirate’s glitzy Boutik Mall.
As reported by the National, Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Minister of Interior and Deputy Prime Minister, said the woman taken into custody was Emirati and in her late 30s. He said that just after the attack at the mall, the suspect also planted a homemade bomb at the home of an Egyptian-American doctor nearby.
The murder and attempted bombing comes just weeks after the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi warned that an anonymous posting on a jihadist Web site called for the murder of American teachers in the Middle East.
While there was no confirmation for the stabbing and attempted bombing, bin Zayed all but confirmed that it was being treated as a terrorist act because the suspect targeted the victims based on their American nationality and had no personal ties with them. He said investigations are ongoing to identify any accomplices and whether foreign groups might have been involved.The teacher, who was recruited by Footprints Recruiting, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based teacher recruitment company, was identified as Ibolya Ryan.
A few days before the stabbing and bomb-planting, Abu Dhabi’s Criminal Investigation Department said the doctor reported a black-clad woman, matching the description of the suspect in the mall stabbing, arrived at the house but left before the doctor and his wife could identify her. The CID speculated that the woman was confirming who lived there before planting a homemade nail bomb.
As shown in a dramatic video released by the Interior Ministry, a squad of heavily armed police enter the villa, arrest the woman and confiscate more apparent bomb-making materials. Shot like an action movie, the video, overlaid with ominous music from The Dark Knight soundtrack, has propaganda elements designed to show the Emirati security forces quickly and decisively dealing with a suspected terrorist, something the UAE is keen to show to the world.
The video even shows blood on the steering wheel of the woman’s van, presumably Ryan’s. The suspect has been consistently described as wearing black gloves and is seen wearing them in the CCTV videos, however, so it’s unclear how the blood might have gotten on the steering wheel.
Bin Zayed said the suspect was identified within 24 hours and arrested within 48 hours of the attacks.
“Today, we are before a heinous crime the likes of which are unprecedented in our safe country,” he said.
“It is a crime that goes against all human values and norms,” he continued. “It was a blatant attack on innocent people that committed no wrongdoing, killing a teacher that worked with future generations and whom everyone recognized as a hard-working and devoted teacher and mother of three.”