FBI: Minnesota mall attacker radicalized ′almost overnight′ | Americas| North and South American news impacting on Europe | DW | 07.10.2016
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FBI: Minnesota mall attacker radicalized 'almost overnight'

The 20-year-old Somali immigrant had been a model student uninterested in religion until very shortly before the Islamist-inspired attack. Dahir Adan wounded 10 people in a Minnesota mall before being killed by police.

The FBI released new information on Thursday about the man who stabbed 10 people in a Minnesota mall last month. According to the authorities, over a span of several months 20-year-old Dahir Ahmed Adan went from a good student with mostly secular interests to nearly failing out of college and developing a curiosity about radical Islam.

"We were told (he) had not previously shown an interest in religion," said Special Agent Rick Thornton. Once he did, however, the changes in his behavior occurred "almost overnight."

"The totality of Dahir Adan's behavior and the actions suggest he may have been radicalized either with the influence of others or on his own," Thorton added.

According to Adan family, nothing at home seemed amiss with the young Somali-American ahead of his rampage at the Crossroads Center Mall in the small city of St. Cloud where he grew up. Yet on September 17 he decided to don a security guard uniform like one he had worn for a previous job at a nearby factory, entered the mall and stabbed 10 people inside a Macy's department store before being shot dead by an off-duty police officer.

Eight people were badly injured, but all recovered after brief hospital stays.

Adan asked victims if they were Muslim

The FBI also released footage of the incident for the first time on Thursday, showing Adan stabbing one victim who was able to scramble away, terrified customers fleeing the scene, as well as the bloodied assailant trying to stand after being shot six times by the policeman.

"We have numerous credible witness accounts of him asking victims during the attack if they were Muslim and at least one instance yelling 'Allahu akbar' while stabbing one of his victims and others heard him yelling "Islam Islam" during the attack," Thornton told reporters, adding that investigators believe the attack was premeditated.

In the aftermath of the incident, a news outlet run by "Islamic State" (IS) terrorists claimed Adan as their "soldier."

A lawyer for the attacker's family said they were mystified as to how their son, who had told them he was leaving the house to buy an iPhone and then head to work the night of the attack, could so suddenly become radicalized.

"They believed he was doing as good as he used to do," said Abdulwahid Osman said. "That is not the son they knew."

  "They continue to mourn and grieve for the loss in their family and express profound sympathy to the victims," he added.

es/bw (AP, AFP)

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