The man who plowed a car into a crowd at the Ohio State University for the crossing a number of pedestrians with a butcher knife acclaimed american-born Al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki as a “hero” and also the rally against the AMERICAN interference in the Islamic countries, law enforcement officials said.
“America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially the Islamic Ummah. We are not weak. We are not weak, do not forget that,” Abdul Razak Ali Artan allegedly wrote on Facebook, using the Arabic term for the world of the Muslim community.
The messages of Artan the account came to light after Monday’s violence, in which 11 people injured.
“Every Muslim who disapproves of my actions is a sleeper cell, waiting for a signal. I am warning you, Oh America!” Artan said.
The messages were told by a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation but was not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Other sources told Fox News on Tuesday that the referral of al-Awlaki on Abdul Razak Ali Artan, the social media accounts is “deeply concerning” because it could suggest that he was radicalized prior to the launch of the attack.
The FBI is now in possession of Artan electronic devices and will focus their research on the question of whether he read the two recent ISIS propaganda magazines that called for attacks using vehicles and knives, a law enforcement source added.
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In the past months, federal law enforcement officials have raised concerns about online extremist propaganda, that promotes knife and car attacks, which are easier to attract than a bombardment.
The Islamic State group has urged supporters online to carry out lone-wolf attacks in their own country, with what weapons are available to them.
Al-Awlaki, a senior Al-Qaida leader was killed more than five years ago during a CIA-led U.S. drone strike. Before his death, al-Awlaki was involved in several terror plots in the United States, with his fluent English skills to draw recruits to carry out attacks.
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According to law enforcement sources, Artan was born in Somalia and was a legal U.S. permanent resident.
Sources told Fox News that Artan attended Columbus State Community College and graduated with an associate’s degree earlier this year. Allen Kraus, the school’s vice president of marketing and communications, said the former student had no record of behavioral or disciplinary problems during his time at CSCC.
Ohio State’s student newspaper, The Lantern, ran an interview in August with a student with the name Abdul Razak Artan, who identified himself as a Muslim and a third year logistics management student who had just transferred from Columbus State in the fall.
He said that he was looking for a place to pray, and openly worried about how he would be received.
“I was a little worried with everything happening in the media. I am a Muslim, it is not what the media shows me,” he told the newspaper. “If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they think, what’s going to happen. But I don’t blame them. It is the media that has that image in their head.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that the law bore the hallmarks of an attack carried out by someone who self-radicalized.
Officer Alan Horujko, 28, who stopped Artan hurt more people, is hailed a hero. Ohio State University police chief Craig Stone said Horujko, who is a member of the force in January 2015, was in the neighborhood where Artan attacked because of a gas leak, and came on to the scene and shot the knife-wielding Artan in less than a minute.
Surveillance photos showed Artan in the car by himself just before the attack, but the researchers are looking into whether someone else was involved, the campus, the police said.
Eleven victims were taken to three Columbus hospitals. Most of the injured were hit by the car, and two had been stabbed, officials said. One had a fractured skull.
Classes at OSU were cancelled after the attack, but were scheduled to resume Tuesday.
The students said they were nervous about returning and planned to take precautions such as not walking alone.
“It’s kind of nerve-racking to go back to class immediately after the other,” said Kaitlin Conner, 18, of Cleveland, who said she had a midterm exam to take on Tuesday.
The leaders of the Islamic organizations and mosques in the Columbus area, condemned the attack, while warning the public against jumping to conclusions or blaming one religion or ethnicity.
Fox News reporters Cartherine Herridge and Garrett Tenney contributed to this report. The Associated Press contributed to this report.