After news broke that the Ohio State University attacker was a Somali refugee, many openly questioned his motives. Was the automobile and knife attack the work of a terrorist? The Islamic State thinks so, and now they’ve released a statement.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the improvised attack in Columbus that injured 11 people and left the suspect dead. The claim, however tenuous, was made through the group’s social media channels.
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مصدر أمني لوكالة أعماق: منفذ هجوم ولاية #أوهايو الأمريكية هو جندي للدولة الإسلامية ونفذ العملية استجابة لنداءات استهداف رعايا دول التحالف
— خادم الإخوة (@kjuvd9) November 29, 2016
The post reads: OSU student Abdul Razak Ali Artan “is a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to appeals targeting nationals of coalition countries.”
The post should have used a more accurate verb. Abdul Razak Ali Artan “was” a “solider.” After driving over a bicycle and cutting 11 students, Abdul Razak Ali Artan was shot dead by an much more effective Ohio State campus police officer, Alan Horujko.
The FBI has still not made any formal announcements about links between Artan, and the terrorist group. What they have found is a Facebook feed with a few declarations of exasperation pertaining to the treatment of Muslims, and a clear theme of frustration about American foreign policy.
Artan wrote in one Facebook post “If you want us Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks, then make peace” with IS. “America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that.”
That said, Artan’s attack managed to shut down the campus and cause a brief moment of panic. In total, his attack is estimated to have lasted less than a minute. As terrorism goes, the attack may not have been “weak,” as Artan describes, yet it was hardly effective.
Monday’s attack began when Artan drove his car into a crowd of people gathered outside of Watts Hall around 9:40am local time. The students were gathered because of a fire alarm. Artan then jumped from the car and began attacking the crowd with what is being described as a butcher knife. Less than a minute after the attack began, it was over.
As for Artan’s radical roots, the theory is plausible. He is believed to have immigrated from Pakistan just two years ago. He’s originally from Somalia.