American mom stabbed to death in UAE

Escaping: Police released this image from CCTV of the woman making her way from the crime scene

Escaping: Police released this image from CCTV of the woman making her way from the crime scene

A murder investigation has been launched after an American mother was stabbed to death during a clash with a burqa-clad 'woman' in shopping mall toilets in Abu Dhabi.

The 37-year-old kindergarten teacher, who has 11-year-old twin boys, was stabbed with a knife in the altercation in the ladies' toilets a supermarket in Boutik Mall on Reem island in the United Arab Emirates capital.

She was taken to be treated at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City but died later from her injuries in the incident on Monday afternoon.

The victim - who is divorced from the father of the twins - has not been identified. Her initials are only known as ABR. 

Police say they do not know if it was a woman or a man in the burqa. 

Witnesses told police the pair had been embroiled in an argument in the public toilets, which are beside a branch of Waitrose, an upscale British supermarket chain which has a presence in the Middle East.

Officers are still trying to determine the reasons for the attack and the identity of the suspect, who fled the scene wearing an abaya, black gloves and the face-covering veil known as a niqab.

The victim's ex-husband was said to be overseas but was flying back to comfort his sons.

They were being looked after by community police officers.

Colonel Rashid Bourshid, director of the criminal investigation department of Abu Dhabi police, said: 'Police found the woman lying on the floor bleeding.

'She had serious wounds after being stabbed with a knife during a brawl with the attacker.

'No reason has been established yet as to why the woman was murdered. The attacker fled the scene after stabbing the woman.'

Mall employees witnessed the altercation with her attacker.

Col Bourshid said a murder investigation had been launched and police were searching for the suspect.

The suspect - apparently a woman - was described as wearing an abaya, black jacket and gloves.

He added: 'Community policing is now taking care of the two boys and will provide them with shelter and all necessary support until their father, who stays outside the UAE, arrives.'

It was not known whether the boys were with her at the time of the attack. 

Reem island is a residential, commercial and business development connected to Abu Dhabi city centre by a bridge. It was built as the city center became over-populated.

It is mostly inhabited by expatriates and boasts the upmarket Boutik Mall, which opened in 2011 and has 50 shops and restaurants, including the capital city's first Waitrose, Leopold's of London and La Brioche.

The mall bridges two residential buildings, Sun and Sky towers. Its website says it 'offers the best of everything that anyone needs to lead a stylish life.

'Serving the vibrant and cosmopolitan community of Shams Abu Dhabi and beyond, Boutik is an oasis of independent retailers, brand outlets, comfortable cafes and day-to-day services.

'For busy professionals living and working in the adjoining towers and for students at the Sorbonne, it is a welcome social centre and cornerstone of the community.'

Although Abu Dhabi is not the largest emirate - Dubai has the biggest population - it has an estimated 40,000 American expatriates. 


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