Video: Islamic State says Ohio State suspect was terror ‘soldier’; officials doubt claim

Islamic State says Ohio State suspect was terror 'soldier'; officials doubt claim

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (UPI) — The Islamic State militant group on Tuesday claimed that the student suspected in the attacks at the Ohio State University, which injured nearly a dozen people, was one of its operatives.

The insurgent group’s Amaq communications unit said the alleged attacker, Abdul Razak Artan, was a “soldier” who acted on the group’s calls to strike against targets inside the United States.

“The executor of the attack in the American state of Ohio is a soldier of the Islamic State and he carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of international coalition countries,” the group said.

There was no information, though, whether the 18-year-old man ever had direct contact with the Middle Eastern group or received personal instruction from Islamic State plotters.

Artan launched the attack Monday morning at the Columbus campus by running his car off the road and striking a group of people standing in a nearby courtyard. After hitting the bystanders, police said Artan exited the vehicle and began slashing some victims with a butcher knife.

An Ohio State University police officer, who happened to be at the scene due to an unrelated incident, shot Artan dead just seconds after the attack began, authorities said.

Eleven people were injured, but none seriously.

Experts, though, have at least some doubt about a real connection between Artan and the militant group.

Two U.S. intelligence officials said there are no known contacts between Artan and the Islamic State, or any other foreign terrorist organization, NBC News reported.

Investigators are still trying to determine a motive. A post to Artan’s Facebook page before the attack said the suspect had reached a “boiling point” with the treatment Muslims received in the United States.

NBC News’ report also cites an acquaintance as saying Artan actually “loved America.”