Abu Dhabi: An American teacher and mother of twins was stabbed to death in a shopping centre toilet in Abu Dhabi by a suspect in a Muslim veil, police said Wednesday.
It was unclear what the motive was for Monday`s attack in the upmarket Boutik Mall on Al Reem Island, which is popular with expats.
Police said the 37-year-old victim, who worked at a nursery school in Abu Dhabi, was stabbed by a person wearing a black robe, black gloves and a niqab -- a Muslim veil that conceals the face except for the eyes.
Her 11-year-old twins were taken into police care until their father arrived from abroad.
Police released CCTV footage showing the suspect walking in and out of the mall, and shots of the knife used in the attack in a washroom following what they described as an "altercation".
"The victim was stabbed with a sharp object following an argument in the ladies toilets," the head of Abu Dhabi`s police criminal investigations department, Colonel Rashid Bourscheid, was quoted by The National daily as saying.
Police are still trying to determine the reasons for the attack and the identity of the suspect, who fled the scene," he said.
The National quoted an employee at a nearby restaurant who heard two women arguing in the toilet and one threatening: "Sit down or I`ll kill you".
The American died after being taken to hospital. She was not named but the Gulf News daily identified her by the initials "A.B.R".
The United Arab Emirates, of which Abu Dhabi is the largest, hosts millions of foreign workers and has built an image of a relatively liberal society among Gulf Arab nations.
In September it joined a US-led coalition against the Islamic State jihadist group in Iraq and Syria.
The stabbing took place on the same day as a recording attributed to IS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani urged Muslims to attack Westerners by any means, even if only to "spit on their faces".
Violent crime is relatively rare in Abu Dhabi although there have been attacks on foreigners elsewhere in the region.
In Saudi Arabia on Saturday, an assailant stabbed and wounded a Canadian while he shopped at a mall in Dhahran on the Gulf coast.
Last month a Danish national was shot and wounded in the Saudi capital Riyadh -- an attack that IS on Monday claimed was carried out by its supporters.