ABU DHABI — The ex-husband of an American teacher slain in an Abu Dhabi mall said he believes a "monster" targeted his former wife purely because of her nationality.
Ibolya Ryan, a 47-year-old mother of three, was stabbed in the bathroom of an upscale mall on Wednesday. Abu Dhabi police said they have detained the attacker and that the assault was targeted.
In an interview with NBC News, Ryan's ex-husband said he believes his wife was attacked because she was a Westerner.
"This monster was lying in wait for someone like her to come along — for an hour — in the bathroom," he tearfully told NBC News. "Unfortunately, it was my kids' mother."
Paul Ryan — who flew to Abu Dhabi immediately after the attack — said his and Ibolya's 11-year-old twin boys were at the mall when the attack took place and waited for their mother for an hour, unaware of the tragedy that had transpired.
On a Facebook tribute page, the Ryan family says Ibolya "made the world a better place."
Paul Ryan echoed those sentiments to NBC News, describing his ex-wife, a kindergarten teacher, as "always positive and optimistic" about life.
"She would never hurt anybody ever," Paul Ryan said. "She was special, she was absolutely special."
A security official told the United Arab Emirates state news agency WAM that the suspect doesn’t appear to have links to any terror organizations, and the killing was a personal terrorist attack. A preliminary investigation has shown that the accused attacker wasn’t looking for an American but anyone who looked foreign, the official said. “She selected her victims randomly,” the official told WAM.