(ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates) — The woman suspected of stabbing an American teacher to death in a shopping mall in Abu Dhabi carried out a “personal terrorist attack” after she was inspired by jihadist websites where she also learned how to make a homemade bomb, the official United Arab Emirates news agency reports.
The woman, identified by police to ABC News as Dalal al Hashemi, “selected her victims randomly” and targeted anyone who looked foreign, a security source told the WAM news agency. The source added that she had no connection to any terrorist groups.
After stabbing Ibolya Ryan in the Reem Island Boutiq mall bathroom, police say Hasehmi, a 38-year-old Emirati citizen of Yemeni origin, drove across town to the home of an Egyptian-American doctor. She entered his apartment building pulling a black suitcase and left a homemade explosive device outside his door made of gas canisters and nails.
“The investigations show that the accused has recently logged into some terrorist websites through which she acquired the terrorism ideology and learnt how to manufacture explosives,” the source told WAM. “After scrutiny, the seized materials used in manufacturing were shown to be primitive.”
“I’m totally horrified by what happened,” Ryan’s ex-husband Paul told CNN.
He recently arrived in Abu Dhabi with the couple’s 13-year-old daughter from Vienna to care for their 11-year-old twin boys who had been living with their mother.
Ryan, 47, had been teaching in the UAE for more than a year and was also mentoring other teachers, her family said in a statement Saturday. She will be buried in Romania, where she was born and raised.
Police released surveillance video from the mall that shows the suspect entering a women’s bathroom on Monday afternoon. An hour and a half later, she runs out and makes her escape through the mall parking lot.
Video showed the bathroom covered in blood and the alleged murder weapon – a large kitchen knife – lying on the floor. Ryan later died of her stab wound.
On Thursday, police released a second video showing the woman they identify as Hashemi entering the apartment building of the doctor with a black suitcase and leaving behind what appears to be a basic explosive device. The doctor’s son discovered the bomb, authorities say, and the police managed to defuse it before it went off.
With evidence and testimony from the two scenes, police surrounded Hasehmi’s home in the Khalifa City B part of town. They stormed in, arresting Hashemi and others in the house. Police say they also found her white SUV with blood on the steering wheel, the black suitcase that she used to carry the bomb and more bomb-making materials, indicating more potential attacks.
On Sunday, a candlelight vigil was held on an Abu Dhabi beach for Ryan, as fellow westerners expressed their shock that such an attack could happen in such a safe country where so many expatriates live.
In October, the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi issued a warning to U.S. citizens about an anonymous web posting that urged attacks against American teachers and schools in the region, but noted no specific threats to the UAE.
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