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18 Sep, 2016 15:17

ISIS claims responsibility for Minnesota mall stabbings

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has claimed the man who stabbed eight people in a Minnesota shopping mall on Saturday as one of its “soldiers,” without specifying if the suspect, who was shot dead, was in direct contact with the Islamist group.

While officials have not named the suspect, members of the Somali community identified him as Dahir Adan, a junior at St. Cloud State University who worked part-time as a private security officer. Adan's father confirmed the identification Monday morning.

“The executor of the stabbing attacks in Minnesota yesterday was a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to calls to target the citizens of countries belonging to the crusader coalition,” said a statement published by Amaq, a news agency associated with the group.

A man dressed in a private security guard uniform stabbed eight people in the Crossroads Center Mall in St. Cloud, a city 100km northwest of Minneapolis-St. Paul. He was then killed by an off-duty policeman from another jurisdiction. None of the victims sustained life-threatening wounds, and all but one have been discharged from the hospital.

Eyewitnesses reported that the man asked at least one person if they were a Muslim during the rampage, while others said that his words referenced Allah. Police, who have chosen not to reveal the identity of the perpetrator until further investigation, said he had previously accumulated three minor charges, none of them linked with terrorism.

The FBI says it is now investigating the attack as a terrorist incident.

Islamic State has repeatedly called for its supporters to stage terrorist attacks in the West, and has often praised their executors as their “soldiers” in public statements.

While some, like those who carried out the Paris attacks last year, have substantive links with the Syria- and Iraq-based organization, and received training and support, others, such as the Orlando shooter who killed 49 people in a gay club in June, are thought merely to have been inspired by Islamic State.