Free Press Journal

Ohio campus attacker had Pakistan links


Ohio Campus attack

New York: A young terrorist, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, who launched an attack at the Ohio State University in Columbus on Monday had spent seven years in Pakistan after leaving his native Somalia before coming

to the US as a refugee two years ago.

Artan, whose age was reported to be between 18 and 20, was a third year transfer student in logistics management.

In an interview with him published in the student newspaper, The Lantern, Artan had said, “I am a Muslim, it’s not what the media portrays me to be.”

He went on to blame the media for creating a picture of Muslims that would make people “feel uncomfortable” to see him praying in public.

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But NBC news said that in a Facebook post attributed to him he wrote that he had reached a “boiling point” and added, “America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially Muslim Ummah [community]. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that.”

The attack turns the spotlight on Republican President-elect Donald Trump’s calls during his campaign for a temporary halt to Muslim immigration while screening procedures are tightened.

Trump has since softened his stand, leaning towards heightened vigilance towards those coming from some countries linked to terrorism.

Trump had not, as of Monday night, said anything publicly about the Ohio attack showing uncharacteristic restraint after his strong statements on terrorism during the campaign.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence called it a “tragic incident” and expressed sympathy for the families of those affected.

Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs told reporters that “we have to consider that it is” a terror attack.

After leaving Somalia in 2007, he lived in Pakistan till 2014 before he came to the US. According media reports, Catholic Charities had helped with his family’s resettlement.

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Officials said that after a university building was evacuated on Monday morning because of reports of a gas leak, Artan drove a car into the crowd of people standing outside, charged out of his car wielding a knife and attacked.

A police officer who was nearby reached the scene of the terror strike and shot Artan dead, officials said.

Officials did not release the names of the injured, who have all survived. One of them was a faculty member and most of the others were students, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

Al Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) have called upon their supporters to carry out attacks by driving vehicles into people or using knives, tactics that do not require elaborate preparation or equipment or networks.

However, these can be potent weapons for sowing fear among the public.