A 20-year-old Somali Muslim attacked fellow students at Ohio State University, slashing and stabbing with a knife. In the hour before his attack yesterday, Abdul Razak Ali Artan posted a warning on Facebook that there is a “sleeper cell” within the Muslim communities in the United States. He added that if the United States wants “Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks, then make peace with ‘dawla in al sham.’” The reference dawla in al sham is a term for the Islamic State (ISIS).
Artan stated on Facebook that the United States should stop interfering in Muslim countries. “We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that,” Artan wrote.
The attacker specified the killing of Muslims in Myanmar (Burma). Known as the Rohingya people, the Muslim minority group is suffering persecution equivalent to ethnic cleansing at the hands of government authorities, said a UN official last week.
OSU police officer Alan Horujko (28) was on the scene within a minute. According to a police spokesman, he eliminated the threat in less than a minute.
Investigators are looking into the attack as a terrorist incident. Eleven persons were injured in the attack. Several persons were injured when Artan plowed over them with a car. One suffered a fractured skull, while another suffered a severely wounded hand when he fended off the perpetrator. Artan stabbed and slashed others with a butcher knife. An OSU police officer shot him dead after he refused to yield. Four victims remain hospitalized.
The style of attack used by Artan resembled the modus operandi of other Muslim assaults on Westerners and Israel. In France this summer, a long Muslim from Tunisian ran down and killed dozens while hundreds of Frenchmen were celebrating Bastille Day in NIce. The tactic of lone wolf knife attacks has been rife in Israel.
Artan was born in Somalia and was a legal permanent U.S. resident. He graduated cum laude from Columbus State Community College with an associate’s degree in May, and was studying logistics at OSU. He lived in Pakistan from 2007 to 2014.
Artan's Facebook postings referenced Anwar al-Awlaki -- a radical Muslim cleric and an American of Yemeni origin -- who was a leader in the al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Law enforcement says that the style of the attack is of the sort encouraged by the Islamic State in a recent online magazine posting. So far, there has been no evidence released that he had any contact with radical groups before carrying out the attack. Law enforcement is looking into his computer and cellphone, and also talking to family and associates.
Columbus City Council President Zach Klein (D) called the attack “an isolated incident.” Blame should be on the attacker, Klein said, not on Muslims and Somalis. He visited a local mosque for a prayer service today.
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