Islamic State claims Minnesota mall attacker as "own soldier"

The Islamic State extremist militant organization claimed Sunday that a knife-wielding man who went on a slashing rampage in a shopping mall in the Midwestern United States was a "soldier" of the terrorist group.

"[He] carried out the operation in response to calls to target the citizens of countries belonging to the crusader coalition," Islamic State's semi-official media outlet Amaq Agency reported, citing an unnamed security source.

The US is leading an international air coalition targeting Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq.

The attacker was shot dead by an off-duty police officer in the mall in St Cloud, Minnesota, 110 kilometres north-west of Minneapolis, after he attacked shoppers late Saturday, police said.

Authorities initially said eight people suffered non-life-threatening injuries, but said Sunday that a ninth wounded victim was transported privately to a hospital.

The assailant made references to Allah and asked a least one victim inside the Crossroads mall if they were Muslim before stabbing them, Police Chief Blair Anderson said.

Police had dealt with the individual on three earlier occasions but all for minor offenses, he said. Anderson said that he could not call the crime a terrorist act until the assailant's motive became clear.

The rampage began shortly after 8 pm Saturday (0100 GMT Sunday).

The assailant, who was wearing a uniform that resembled that of a private security officer, stabbed people at multiple locations in the mall before being confronted and shot dead by an off-duty police officer, Anderson said.

The fatal shooting occurred about five minutes after the first emergency call to police, authorities said.

In recent months, Islamic State praised a series of attacks by lone individuals in the West, claiming perpetrators of some of these assaults as its "soldiers."

In depth coverage

Minnesota mall attacker shot dead after stabbing rampage

A knife-wielding man was shot dead by an off-duty police officer in a Minnesota mall after he assaulted eight people late Saturday, authorities said.

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Last update: Sun, 18/09/2016 - 17:43
Last update: Sun, 18/09/2016 - 23:39

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