A man who stabbed nine people at a mall in central Minnesota before he was shot dead is a “soldier of the Islamic State,” the militant group’s news agency, Amaq, said on Sunday.
“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,” Reuters quoted Amaq news agency as saying.
An FBI official said that investigators are viewing the attack as a possible act of terrorism.
The attacker, who is yet to be identified, was killed by an off-duty policeman.
According to Police and eyewitnesses, the man entered Crossroads Mall, wearing a private security company uniform, around 8PM ET on Saturday night.
They also said he made a reference to Allah and asked at least one person if they were Muslim before he attacked.
Speaking to CNN’s Nick Valencia, an employee of JCPenney, Ashley Bayne, who was visiting a coworker at the time of the incident said:
She said that she ran out and drove off in her car.
According to St. Cloud Police Chief , Blair Anderson, Local police had three previous encounters with the suspect, most for minor traffic violations.
Anderson said authorities “have no reason to believe” anyone else was involved in the attacks, adding that the stabbings occurred in several places within the mall, including corridors, businesses and common areas.
“The entire mall is an active crime scene,” Anderson said.