Propaganda from the ISIS terror group and now-deceased al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki appears to have inspired Abdul Razak Ali Artan, the man who launched a car and knife attack on the campus of Ohio State University on Monday, the FBI said today.
The investigators’ conclusion follows an analysis of Artan’s social media accounts, his electronic devices as well as interviews with his family, friends and co-workers.
Speaking at a press conference, FBI Special Agent Angela Byers said it’s unclear whether Artan followed instructions he read online or whether he copied other ISIS-inspired attacks when he used his brother’s car and a knife to injure nearly a dozen people.
Authorities said that they are unaware of any others involved in the planning of the attack.
However, it’s too soon, Byers said, to declare the attack terrorism as it’s defined under criminal law.
For its part, the FBI said that it had no prior knowledge of Artan.
“He was not a subject of any investigation,” Byers, the FBI agent, said.
On Tuesday, the ISIS terror group claimed that Artan was one of its “soldiers.”
In a message circulated online from one of its media outlets, ISIS said an "insider source" reported and that he "is a soldier" of ISIS and "carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of international coalition countries," according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group.
While ISIS has repeatedly called on its followers to conduct attacks in the U.S., no evidence has emerged publicly to suggest ISIS had foreknowledge of the OSU plot. The language used in this claim is similar to that used when previous so-called "lone wolves" were believed to have acted independently of the terrorist organization.
On Wednesday morning, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted, “ISIS is taking credit for the terrible stabbing attack at Ohio State University by a Somali refugee who should not have been in our country.”
Sources tell ABC News that Artan had been a legal permanent resident of the U.S. since 2014.
The sources said that before coming to the United States, Artan had lived in a refugee camp in Pakistan where he was a refugee from Somalia, a war ravaged country in East Africa.