(JTA) – The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a stabbing attack at a Minnesota mall that injured nine people.
The terrorist group, also known as ISIS, on Sunday night called the attacker a “soldier of the Islamic State” a day after he launched the attack inside the Crossroads Center mall in St. Cloud.
The attacker, who was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer, was identified by his father and community leaders as Dahir Aden, a student at St. Cloud State University and a private security guard, the Washington Post reported. Aden moved to the United States from Kenya at age 2 and is Somali. Minnesota has the nation’s largest Somali community, with a population reported to be more than 40,000.
Aden made at least one reference to Allah during the attack and asked at least one person whether they were Muslim before stabbing, St. Cloud police said, the Post reported.
The Islamic State-linked Amaq news agency said the mall attacker “carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of countries belonging to the crusader coalition.”
The stabbings are being investigated as a “potential” act of terrorism, the FBI said Sunday in a news conference, but said the attacker’s motive remains unknown. FBI officials also said there is no evidence that the attacker had been in direct contact with the Islamic State or that the terrorist group knew about the attack or helped plan it.