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Authorities said Friday it would be “a while” before charges are brought against a woman held over the stabbing death of an American teacher at a glitzy mall in Abu Dhabi.
The suspect, seen in security footage fleeing the scene of the crime covered in black robes from head to toe, was arrested Thursday over the murder of former Colorado elementary school teacher Ibolya Ryan.
The mother of three was knifed to death in a bathroom stall at the Boutik Mall on Reem Island on Monday afternoon.
Authorities in the United Arab Emirates said the suspect, an Emirati woman in her 30s who had confessed to the killing, later left a makeshift bomb at the home of an unrelated 46-year-old Arab-American doctor in the prominent waterfront Corniche area.
"She aimed to create chaos, shake the security in the country, and terrorize people in the UAE," police said in a statement Thursday, adding that the victims were targeted based "on nationality alone and had nothing to do with personal issues."
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A police spokesman said Friday that it would be "a while" before charged were brought in the case "because she is still under investigation."
The killing, which left a trail of blood, has raised concern in the Emirates, a U.S.-allied, seven-state Gulf federation that is usually seen as a haven for Westerners in the Middle East. It comes just weeks after the U.S. embassies in the Middle East warned citizens of an anonymous posting on a jihadist website encouraging attacks against teachers at American schools in the region.
The State Department warned U.S. Embassy staffers in Cairo, Egypt to stick close to their homes and restrict personal travel after recent attacks on Westerners in the region.
However, Westerners were still shopping on Friday at the mall where the murder took place, where the elevator and the bathroom where the murder happened remained cordoned off.
Ryan, affectionately called Ibi by her friends, was a divorced mother of three. Her 11-year-old twin boys lived with her in Abu Dhabi, while a 15-year-old daughter is enrolled in boarding school in Europe, where the children's father lives.
She worked at Palmer Elementary School in Denver from 1997 to 2003, Denver Public Schools spokesman Doug Schepman said Thursday. Colorado records show Ryan had a license to teach in Colorado that was issued in December 2012 and that she was trained to work with special education students with moderate needs.
Saif Bin Zayed, UAE minister of the interior, said Thursday that the bomb attack was foiled just in time.
“After committing the ruthless [mall murder]...the suspect moved to another location later that day to plant a primitive bomb in front of an Arab-American doctor's home — a doctor who has dedicated his life to saving the lives of others. One of his sons discovered the bomb while he was heading to the mosque for the sunset prayer. Security forces were able to dismantle the bomb at the right time before it was detonated."
The bomb was made of small gas cylinders, a lighter, glue, and nails "to cause maximum injuries when detonated," officials said.
NBC News' Cassandra Vinograd, Jack Chesnutt and Julie Studer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.