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Here's what the Minnesota mall attacker and other lone-wolf terrorists have in common

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Here's what the Minnesota mall attacker and other lone-wolf terrorists have in common

The FBI is investigating the stabbing attack that took place at a shopping mall in Minnesota over the weekend as a possible terrorist incident. Federal law enforcement sources tell Circa that the attacker, identified as Dahir Adan, fits the profile of a string of other lone-wolf actors that have carried out terrorist attacks across the country in recent months. 

Who was Dahir Adan?

Investigators say Adan stabbed nine people at the Crossroads Shopping Center in St. Cloud, Minn. before he was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer. 

Adan, 22, was studying information systems at St. Cloud State University and worked as a weekend security guard at Electrolux Home Products, a household appliance store near the mall. 

His father, Ahmed Adan, said that his son was born in Kenya but grew up in the United States. The family is originally from Somalia. 

omar mateen.jpg
FILE -- This undated file image shows Omar Mateen, who authorities say killed dozens of people inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday, June 12, 2016. U.S. authorities say Omar Mateen, the man who carried out the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, had touted support not just for the Islamic State but also other radical factions that are enemies of the Sunni militant group. He not only professed allegiance to IS but also expressed solidarity with a suicide bomber from the Syrian branch of al-Qaida, which is known as the Nusra Front and which is Islamic State�s top rival. (MySpace via AP, File)

Security background

Adan's background bears some striking similarities to other lone-wolf attackers. He worked for a private security firm, just like the Orlando nightclub shooter, Omar Mateen. 

Immigrated to the U.S.

Adan spent most of his life in the U.S. but his family immigrated from a country with significant terrorist ties, in this case al-Shabaab in Somalia. 

Mateen's parents are from Afghanistan, and San Bernardino shooter Rizwan Farook's family came from Pakistan.

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FILE - In this July 27, 2014 file photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows Tashfeen Malik, left, and her husband, Syed Farook, at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. For a crisis counselor who lost a loved one in the San Bernardino terrorist attack, the last six months have been a journey on the other side of crisis. Mandy Pifer's boyfriend, Shannon Johnson, was one of the 14 people killed in the December 2015 mass shooting by Malik and Farook. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP, File)

Adan also spent time working toward a degree at an American college, just like Mateen and Farook. 


Minnesota is already on the FBI's radar when it comes to terrorism investigations. 

The state leads the nation in terms of the number of people who have left or sought to leave the U.S. to join terrorist groups. It also has the largest Somali population in the U.S. 

Since 2007, more than 20 young men have left Minnesota to join al-Shabaab in Somalia, and roughly a dozen have left to join militants in Syria, according to the Associated Press. 

Nine men are currently awaiting sentencing on terrorism charges. 

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