ISIS is claiming responsibility for a stabbing spree that injured eight Saturday night at the St. Cloud Crossroads Center in Minnesota. On Sunday morning, the ISIS-linked Amaq News Agency said in a statement that the attacker “a soldier of the Islamic State” who “carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of countries belonging to the crusader coalition.”
The attacks began a little after 8p.m. inside the mall. After injuring eight shoppers, the man was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer. The assailant, who was wearing a private security uniform, has yet to be identified.
None of the suspect’s targets suffered life-threatening injuries. Seven of the victims were treated and released, and one was admitted to a nearby hospital.
According to reports from the St. Cloud Police Department, the suspect mentioned Allah at least once during the attack and asked at least one of his victims whether they were Muslim before stabbing them.
At a press conference Saturday night, St. Cloud Police Chief William Blair Anderson declined to speculate on whether the attacks were an act of terrorism, telling reporters that the suspect’s motive was unknown. He told reporters that while the suspect had had run-ins with the police before, most were for traffic violations.
“I want everyone in St. Cloud to know we will be diligent and get to the bottom of this,” Anderson said. “Starting tomorrow, St. Cloud will not be the same anymore.”
The attack happened on the same night as an explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City injured at least 25 people. Earlier Saturday, a pipe bomb exploded near Seaside Park in New Jersey, where a 5K charity race was scheduled to take place later that day. No one was injured, but the race was canceled “due to an unidentified suspicious backpack found at the race site.” None of the incidents appear to be related, according to authorities familiar with the attacks.