x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

'I am just glad to be alive'

Police are searching for a man who stabbed and robbed an Iranian medical student in the basement of her apartment building.

Anooshka Khudabakhshi, the Iranian woman who was stabbed in the basement of her building in Dubai on Tuesday night.
Anooshka Khudabakhshi, the Iranian woman who was stabbed in the basement of her building in Dubai on Tuesday night.

Dubai Police are searching for a man who repeatedly stabbed an Iranian student in a basement car park in Bur Dubai before fleeing with her handbag. The victim, Anooshka Khudabakhshi, 25, is a student at Gulf Medical College in Ajman and lives alone in an apartment in Al Bada Building. A longtime resident of Dubai, she is recovering in Rashid Hospital with multiple wounds in her back.

"I am just glad to be alive," she said, speaking from her hospital bed yesterday. "It was a shocking moment that I never expected would happen to me." Ms Khudabakhshi said she was heading to her car on Tuesday night when a man whom she did not know approached her. "I was on my way to my friend's home and I was about to open the car door when I saw him," she said. "He said he wanted to ask me a question. However, when he got closer he pulled out a knife."

She said the man, who appeared to be Asian, asked her to give him everything she had. "Before I could respond he pushed me down and stabbed me repeatedly on my back. I was shocked when I saw the knife. I know a little self-defence but at that moment I just could not move." She then screamed for help and pleaded with the man to let her go. "I told him to take what he wants but leave me alone." The man stabbed her two or three times before fleeing with her wallet - which contained credit cards and about Dh5,000 (US$1,300) in cash - and another bag with a mobile phone.

Ms Khudabakhshi used her other phone to call a friend and the police. "I spoke to my friend and asked her to come as soon as she could," she said. Sitting on the floor of the basement with her back against the car, she waited for someone to arrive. "I am training to be a doctor," Ms Khudabakhshi said. "So I knew that I was having shallow breathing and was badly injured. I just hoped someone would arrive soon."

The friend, Narges Ebrahim, said she found Ms Khudabakhshi bleeding and in pain. "I was talking to her just a few minutes before she was attacked as she was coming to meet me. I was shocked when I got the call from her. I asked her not to panic and rushed to her building." Col Khalil al Mansouri, the director of CID at Dubai Police, said officers were hunting the assailant. "A CID team has been formed and is investigating the case," he said. "The search for the suspect is on, and we have information on a few individuals in the area which we are looking to investigate. We will do our best to catch the man responsible."

He said because incidents such as this were rare, he did not deem it necessary to give a formal warning to women. "Women should not be alerted as these incidents are uncommon," he said. Ms Khudabakhshi said she had been living in Dubai for more than 20 years and had never felt threatened: "This area is considered very safe as it is close to the Iranian Hospital, and there is police around here all the time."

pmenon@thenational.ae rabubaker@thenational.ae