In similar instances of violence, the attacker, while working alone to pull off the attack, has been linked to ISIS, with the group publicly taking responsibility for inspiring such terrorist attacks through its media efforts.
As a Financial Times column reported, ISIS similarly did so the day after the violence at Ohio State: “On Tuesday [Nov. 29] Isis claimed responsibility for the attack, calling [the attacker] Artan a ‘soldier’ of the militant group. It released a short statement on Amaq, its news agency, which claimed that the attack had been a ‘response to calls’ to target citizens of countries fighting the group. The language was similar to previous claims of responsibility by Isis where the group has not had direct contact with the attacker, but where its propaganda has played a role” (Shawn Donnan and Geoff Dyer, “Ohio State Attack Claimed by Isis as Investigation Continues,” Nov. 29, 2016).
The attacker, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a Somali-born student at the university, represents the new face of hidden radicalism. Authorities keep close tabs on those they suspect of being linked to groups like ISIS or al-Qaeda, but as Andrew Welsh-Huggins reported for the Associated Press, Artan was an unknown entity: “Artan was not known to FBI counterterrorism authorities before Monday’s rampage, Angela Byers, the FBI’s special agent in charge in Cincinnati, said” (“Ohio State Knife Attacker Was ‘Nice Guy’ but Unknown to Many,” Dec. 1, 2016).
While there were no fatalities as a result of Artan’s rampage, it wasn’t for lack of trying. Artan first drove his car into pedestrians on a campus sidewalk, hitting six, then began slashing anyone within reach with a butcher knife, injuring five more before he was shot dead by a campus policeman.
His methodology is all too familiar after a string of similar attacks starting in late 2015 in Israel, with 48 vehicular attacks and 167 stabbings that killed 42 and injured more than 600. Other notable similar attacks were the Bastille Day tragedy in Nice, France, which saw 85 dead after an ISIS-inspired terrorist drove a truck into the crowds, and the September knife attack at a Minnesota mall that injured eight. ISIS’ tactic of inspiring radicalized Muslim youth abroad is working and is reaching communities the world over. (Source: Financial Times, Associated Press.)