The perpetrator of Monday’s attack at Ohio State University used tactics similar to those of al-Qaida and the Islamic State, according to a private security intelligence company.
Abdul Razak Ali Artan drove his car into a group of pedestrians, exited his vehicle and proceeded to assault victims with a knife, injuring 11. Additionally, Artan is reported to have cited infamous al-Qaida propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki on social media before engaging in his attack.
“Reports of a vehicle being driven into a crowd immediately brought to mind the July 2016 attack in Nice that killed 86 pedestrians,” wrote the Soufan Group in a brief Tuesday. “Reports of one or two men attacking with knives echoed many attacks in places such as Israel, as well as the September 2016 knife attack in a Minnesota mall.”
Palestinian terrorists are engaged in a campaign of knife and car attacks against civilians which began last year, killing 38. Artan’s attack appears to be a hybrid of the two tactics, though he was unable to kill any of his victims before being shot to death by Ohio State University police officer Alan Horujko.
Like Palestinian terrorists and the Nice and Minnesota attackers, Artan acted alone, but the Soufan Group insists the term “lone wolf” may be misleading in this case. Attackers like Artan often “engage in some level of online communication with other sympathizers or members of a terror group, even if that communication falls short of receiving orders or operational support.”
ISIS released a video days before the Ohio State attack, encouraging followers abroad to engage in localized attacks where they live. While ISIS adherents have praised Artan’s attack, the group has yet to formally take responsibility. ISIS will often take responsibility for attacks by its adherents after the fact, despite having no official affiliation or control over the perpetrators.