US: Ohio attacker Artan had ‘no direct links’ to terror group
The Somali student who plowed his car into a crowd and slashed several people with a knife in Ohio had no ties to terror groups, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Wednesday.
Although Abdul Razak Ali Artan professed support for radical militants on his Facebook page and an Islamic State-linked news agency claimed he was an IS “soldier,” Johnson said the probe had not thus far revealed any direct communications between Artan and such groups.
“At this point we see no direct links to any terrorist organization,” Johnson said.
“The indications are right now that this was an act of someone who was self-radicalized.”
On Monday, the Somali immigrant, a new Ohio State University student, injured 11 people before he was shot dead by a university security officer.
Officials have not declared the attack a terror attack, but on Tuesday the IS-linked news agency Amaq said the rampage was inspired by IS calls to action.
“He carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of international coalition countries,” Amaq quoted an insider source as saying, according to a translation by the SITE group that monitors extremists.
A Facebook page believed to belong to Artan — and since taken offline — included grievances against the United States.
“I can’t take it any more. America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah,” he wrote, according to copies of the Facebook page saved by US media.
“If you want us Muslims to stop carrying (out) lone wolf attacks, then make peace,” the post reads. “We will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims.”
Artan also referred to Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born Al-Qaeda recruiter killed in a US drone strike in Yemen, as a hero in the posting.