The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a knife-wielding attack carried out by a Somali refugee at the Ohio State University on Monday.
On Tuesday, an ISIS insider told a jihadist-linked news agency that Abdul Artan was a ‘soldier’ of their cause.
‘The executor of the attack in the American state of Ohio is a soldier of the Islamic State and he carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of international coalition countries,’ the Amaq agency quoted an insider source as saying, according to a translation by the SITE monitoring group.
Artan, who transferred to the school from community college in August, mowed down a group of people evacuating from Watts Hall after a fire drill Monday morning.
He proceeded to get out of his car and attack innocents bystanders with a butcher knife – sending eleven faculty, students and staff members to the hospital.
Just minutes before the attack, Artan posted a long diatribe on Facebook about how he couldn’t take the mistreatment of Muslims anymore.
However, there has been no evidence thus far that Artan praised ISIS.
While officials have not pegged the attack on terror yet, the way it was carried out is similar to methods instructed by ISIS in the group’s online magazine.
The Islamic State group has urged sympathizers online for a few years to strike out alone with any weapons available to them.
But the group has reinvigorated that message in recent weeks in its new propaganda magazine and a video.
Dozens of FBI agents began searching Artan’s apartment Monday night for clues to what set off the rampage.
Artan was born in Somalia and was a legal permanent U.S. resident, according to a U.S. official who was not authorized to discuss the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.
A law enforcement official said Artan came to the United States in 2014 as the child of a refugee. He had been living in Pakistan from 2007 to 2014. It is not uncommon for refugees to go to a third-party country before being permanently resettled.
In addition to the post right before the rampage, Artan published other negative opinions about America on this social media profile.
The student railed against U.S. interference in Muslim lands and warned, ‘If you want us Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks, then make peace’ with the Islamic State group, a law enforcement official said Tuesday.
‘America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that,’ he wrote in another post, using the Arabic term for the world’s Muslim community.
The posts were recounted by a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation but wasn’t authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
‘Every single Muslim who disapproves of my actions is a sleeper cell, waiting for a signal. I am warning you Oh America!’ Artan also said.
On his first day of school at OSU in August, he also expressed a fear of praying in public at the school in an interview with the student newspaper.
‘I was kind of scared with everything going on in the media. I’m a Muslim, it’s not what media portrays me to be,’ he told the newspaper. ‘If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen. But I don’t blame them. It’s the media that put that picture in their heads.’