Ohio State University attack investigation: FBI asks public for help

Thousands, if not millions, of people learned of the attack via social media as OSU student Abdul Razak Ali Artan plowed his vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians on College Road and began brutally attacking students and faculty members with a butcher knife in the middle of campus.

Kevin Stankiewicz, who interviewed Artan for Ohio State's student newspaper, The Lantern, in August, said he was sitting by himself waiting for a class on his first day on campus. A Facebook post suspected to have been written by Artan shortly before the attack does not include a pledge of allegiance to the terrorist organization, as in previous cases, but does say that if the USA wants the attacks to stop, it has to "make peace with 'dawla in al sham, '" which is how some ISIS followers have referred to the organization.

The official was briefed on the investigation but wasn't authorized to discuss it publicly.

OH is home to the second largest Somali community in the United States, numbering around 38,000 in in the Columbus area alone, according to the state's Somali community association. Other waves of refugees followed and the community prospered, thanks to the state's welcoming social programs.

Somali-owned restaurants, mosques, clothing shops, coffee shops and other businesses are well-established in some Minneapolis neighborhoods, including one dubbed "Little Mogadishu", named after the capital of Somalia.

The IS, which operates mainly in Syria and Iraq, is considered a terrorist group by the United States government.

There was no information, though, whether the 18-year-old man ever had direct contact with the Middle Eastern group or received personal instruction from Islamic State plotters.

The group recently released a video on Tuesday calling on attacks on the West and demonstrated how to kill people with knives, Xinhua news agency reported.

Federal Bureau of Investigation counterterrorism authorities have a "number of trip wires" set up to spot would-be jihadists and have a generally good sense of people who are drawn to terrorist propaganda, which is why many who have gone on to commit violence had come under scrutiny, said Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the George Washington University's Program on Extremism.

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"He woke up and he went to school", said Hassan Omar, a Somali community leader who spoke with Artan's mother Monday, hours after the attack.

Authorities said that they are unaware of any others involved in the planning of the attack.

According to NBC News, a post published on the attacker's Facebook page shortly before the incident called the dead Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki a "hero".

Members of ISIS have reportedly called Artan a "soldier of the Islamic State" who had "carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of global coalition countries", CBS News reports.

"If you want us Muslims to stop carrying (out) lone wolf attacks, then make peace", the post reads.

Sources also note the style of the attack was encouraged by ISIS in a recent online magazine.

Stopping recruiting has been a high priority in cities with large Somali populations. In nearby Lewiston, Maine, police have worked to recruit Somali police officers.

Minneapolis has been participating in a federal pilot program created to curb terror recruiting.

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