Terrorism expert Amarnath Amarasingam spun off a series of tweets Tuesday to contextualize the Islamic State’s claim of responsibility for the Ohio State attack Monday.
ISIS claimed responsibility for Abdul Razak Ali Artan’s Tuesday stabbing spree on Ohio State University’s campus, calling him a “soldier” of the terrorist organization. Amarasingam first noted the ISIS’s threshold for claiming an attack is unknown, and await evidence that it was indeed connected to them.
The reported text of a Facebook rant Artan posted hours before the attack provide some clues as to Artan’s motivations and mental state.
Amarasingam highlights the mention of former al-Qaida leader Anwar- Al-Awalki. Awalki was an U.S. born jihadi, who rose to the head of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, and was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.
Awalki’s videotaped sermons and writings have been connected to nearly every major terrorist attack in the U.S. since his death including the Chattanooga shootings, the NYC bombing, the Boston Bombers, and others captured by the FBI.
Beyond Awalki’s mention, Artan ridicules Muslim scholars who argue against radical islamic ideas. Amarasingam notes that these scholars are often targets of ISIS propaganda, and see them as some of the biggest obstacles to their ideology they face.
Finally he warned that the facts of Artan’s case need to emerge before ISIS’s true link to the attack can be found. Artan may have been in contact with an ISIS recruiter, as other U.S. inspired would-be terrorists have been.
FBI documents released in November reveal that Syria based ISIS recruiter Junaid Hussain directed Ohio man Munir Abdulkader to kill a U.S. service-member and attack a police station. Hussain has been connected to multiple other unsuccessful U.S. terrorist plots, and was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2015.
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