FBI head: Extremism apparent influence in Minnesota attack

Published 10:52 am Thursday, September 29, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday that the man who stabbed and wounded 10 people in a central Minnesota mall before he was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer appears to have been inspired, at least in part, by extremist ideology.

While testifying for hours before the House Judiciary Committee in Washington, Comey was asked whether authorities had confirmed that the attack earlier this month in a mall in St. Cloud was an act of terrorism. Comey responded that the FBI is “still working on it,” but that it looks like Dahir Ahmed Adan, 20, appears to have been motivated “by some sort of inspiration from radical Islamic groups.”

He said investigators are not yet sure which groups may have inspired Adan or how, adding that investigators still are reviewing Adan’s electronics.

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Minneapolis FBI spokesman Jeff Van Nest declined to elaborate on Comey’s comments when reached by phone Wednesday. He said he’d let the FBI director’s statement speak for itself.

Authorities say that on the night of Sept. 17, Adan wore a security guard uniform and went to Crossroads Center mall armed with what appeared to be a kitchen knife. In an attack that took just minutes, he stabbed or cut 10 people before he was shot and killed. None of his victims’ injuries were life-threatening.

St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson has said Adan made at least one reference to Allah during the stabbings and asked a victim if he or she was Muslim before attacking.

The Islamic State-run news agency claimed Adan was a “soldier of the Islamic State” who had heeded the group’s calls for attacks in countries that are part of a U.S.-led anti-IS coalition. But it wasn’t immediately known whether the extremist group had planned the attack or knew about it beforehand.