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8 injured, suspect killed in Minnesota attack claimed by Daesh

By AFP - Sep 18,2016 - Last updated at Sep 18,2016

WASHINGTON — Minnesota police said on Sunday they were investigating a shopping mall stabbing spree that injured eight, but could not comment on a claim that the Daesh terror group was behind the attack.

A man who made "some references to Allah" stabbed and injured eight people in a shopping mall in the city of St Cloud late on Saturday before he was shot dead by an off-duty officer, police said.

The suspect "asked at least one person if they were Muslim before he assaulted them", Blair Anderson, the St Cloud police chief, told journalists.

But he emphasised that the assailant's motivation remained unclear.

"Whether that was a terrorist attack or not, I'm not willing to say that right now because we just don't know," he said.

Local officials had no immediate response to a claim by the Daesh-linked news website Amaq that the assailant was "a soldier of the Islamic State [Daesh]”.

A St Cloud police officer told AFP on Sunday that the department was actively investigating the attack, but had no further information for public release and had no immediate plans for further news briefings.

Speaking shortly after midnight, Chief Anderson said the armed suspect entered the Crossroads Centre mall in St Cloud — a city of about 67,000 people some 110km northwest of Minneapolis — and attacked at least eight people.

The lone suspect was wearing a private security uniform and had at least one knife, and "made some references to Allah", the police chief said.

"That suspect was confronted by an off-duty police officer and summarily shot and killed," he said.

Anderson said the eight injured people were taken to a hospital. All but one was later released.

The suspect had a history of minor traffic violations, Anderson said, adding that police do not currently believe the attack was connected to any other incident.

The Minnesota attack came as 29 people were injured in a deliberate explosion in a busy New York neighbourhood late on Saturday. Mayor Bill de Blasio said there was currently no known link to international terror.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she had been briefed about the Minnesota stabbing as well as Saturday's explosions in New York, as well as a pipe bomb blast hours earlier in a trash can in New Jersey in which no one was injured.

The St Cloud mall will remain closed as police continue their investigation.

 

"It's an awful day," Anderson said. "Starting tomorrow things won't be the same here."

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