The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a brutal stabbing attack in a Minnesota mall on Saturday night which left eight injured and the attacker dead.
The attacker, a man of Somali descent, was a “soldier of the Islamic state,” announced ISIS’s Amaq news agency on Sunday, who had carried out the “operation” in response to the radical Islamic caliphate’s calls to “target the citizens of countries belonging to the crusader coalition.”
— Aüd™ (@CodeAud) September 18, 2016
Wearing a private security uniform, the attacker entered Crossroads Mall in St. Cloud – home to one of Minnesota’s largest immigrant Muslim communities – and went on a stabbing rampage, injuring eight people, though none critically.
He was shot dead by an off-duty police officer at the scene, Jason Falconer. St. Cloud’s mayor and police chief called Falconer a hero for taking down the attacker as the suspect was “lunging at him with a knife.”
Interestingly, in contrast, in Israel, police and security officers who have neutralized Palestinian terrorists under similar circumstances have been accused of carrying out “extrajudicial executions”.
Media were clearly hesitant to label the attack as Islamist terror, saying only that he had “referenced Allah” during the attack and asked at least one victim if they were Muslim.
— Anne Bayefsky (@AnneBayefsky) September 18, 2016
The FBI classified the attack as “a potential act of terrorism,” CNN reported, while St. Cloud Police Chief William Blair Anderson held back from connecting it to global terror, saying that the investigation was still trying to ascertain the motivations behind the attack.
Minnesota, and St. Cloud in particular, have been home to increased tensions over fears that ISIS is recruiting militants from the state’s Muslim immigrant population. In April of 2015, six young Somali-Minnesotan men were convicted of attempting to defect to Syria and join ISIS.
The attack in Minnesota occurred on the same day as a number of other incidents suspected to be terror-related. Earlier on Saturday, an explosive device went off in a New Jersey trash can on the route of a planned charity run. In the evening, an explosion tore through Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, leaving 29 injured. Investigators discovered a homemade bomb in a dumpster and a second bomb a few blocks away.
On Monday morning, another bomb exploded in New Jersey while FBI sappers were attempting to disarm it. The bomb, along with five other devices, were found in a bag inside a trash can at the Elizabeth train station on Sunday night.