The Islamic State’s propaganda organization, the Amaq News Agency, is circulating a report that the perpetrator of multiple stabbing attacks at a mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota, 65 miles northwest of Minneapolis, was a “soldier of the Islamic State.”
The alleged attacker, who was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer on Saturday, was identified by his father to the media as Dahir Adan, a student at a local community college who emigrated to U.S. from an unnamed location in Africa 15 years ago. St. Cloud police chief William Blair said Adan reportedly asked at least one of his stabbing victims if they were Muslim and made references to Allah during the attacks. Nine people were reported injured in the attack; Blair told CNN Sunday that none of the victims sustained life threatening injuries.
The greater Minneapolis area is home to the U.S.’s largest Somali diaspora, which has been wracked by the trial of six Somali Minnesotans accused of plotting to join ISIS after reports that at least 23 young men have left the area to join the terrorist group. The F.B.I. has been conducting sting operations within the Somali community, taking advantage of community relations local law enforcement organizations have. These were criticized as “manufacturing terrorism cases” by Michael German, a former F.B.I. agent-turned-researcher for the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.
It’s unclear whether the Amaq report was claiming Adan as a recruited member of ISIS or simply a “lone wolf,” as it did with the perpetrator of the attack in Nice, but former F.B.I. agent Ali Soufan critiqued the report and those sharing it for allowing ISIS to claim credit with such a low threshold for proof.