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IS Claims Responsibility For Attack At U.S. University

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Police keep roads closed following an attack on the campus of Ohio State University on November 28 that wounded at least 11 people.

Police keep roads closed following an attack on the campus of Ohio State University on November 28 that wounded at least 11 people.

An Islamic State-linked news agency says a car-and-knife attack that wounded at least 11 people at a U.S. university was carried out by a "soldier of the Islamic State."

There was no independent confirmation of the claim by the Amaq news agency on November 29, though police in Columbus, Ohio, where the attack took place, said they were investigating it as a possible terrorist attack.

Amaq quoted what it said was an Islamic State "source" as saying the November 28 attack at Ohio State University was carried out "in response to calls to target citizens of international coalition countries."

Witnesses said the attacker, identified as 18-year-old Somali-born Muslim student named Abdul Razak Ali Artan, drove a car at a high speed into pedestrians on a campus sidewalk on November 28.

He then jumped out of the car with a butcher's knife and began slashing people. One witness said he was "completely silent" during the stabbings.

Officials said Artan was a refugee from Somalia who had obtained legal permanent residency in the United States.

Artan was killed by a member of the university's police force who first yelled for Artan to drop his knife, then shot him when he refused to comply.

School and hospital officials say 11 people were hospitalized. One person was listed in critical condition.

Asked whether investigators were treating the incident as a possible terrorist attack, Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs told journalists that authorities "have to consider that it is."

IS extremists have published detailed online articles calling upon English-language readers to carry out attacks with knives and vehicles.

IS also had released a video on November 27 encouraging knife attacks on non-Muslims in the West.

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Investigators said on November 29 that it wasn't immediately clear whether Artan ever saw or heard about those IS exhortations.

But authorities said Artan posted on Facebook before his attack that if the United States wants Muslims to stop carrying out so-called "lone wolf attacks," it should make peace with the IS extremist group.

Congressman Adam Schiff (Democrat-California), a top official on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said federal law-enforcement agencies were assisting in the investigation.

"It bears all of the hallmarks of a terror attack carried out by someone who may have been self-radicalized," Schiff said in a statement.

Ohio State University's campus newspaper, The Lantern, has posted on its website an interview it conducted with Artan that it had published in August.

In the interview, Artan, a logistics management student, said he had recently transferred to Ohio State from another Ohio university.

He said he was scared to pray openly on campus as a Muslim, claiming that he feared that media portrayals of Muslims would give people the wrong idea about him.

"This place is huge, and I don't even know where to pray," he told the newspaper. "If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don't know what they're going to think, what's going to happen. ... But I just did it. ... I went over to the corner and just prayed."

With nearly 60,000 students on campus, Ohio State in Columbus is the state's flagship public university.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, CNN, and dpa
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