WATCH | Federal authorities continue to probe Ohio State University attack. Despite claims by the Islamic State that the Ohio attacker was one of their own, federal investigators are exploring all scenarios.
'Lone wolf' inspired by ISIS propaganda
According to a high-ranking law enforcement official and U.S. counterterrorism source who spoke to Circa, the attack appears to be the act of a "lone wolf" and not connected to a terrorist group.
Investigators have gathered evidence suggesting that the attacker drew inspiration from deceased al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, as well as Islamic State propaganda that called for conducting terror attacks using knives.
Anwar al-Awlaki, born in the United States to parents from Yemen, was killed by a drone strike in 2011. (Photo: Associated Press)
Evidence from social media, witnesses
A high-ranking law enforcement official, with knowledge of the case, said evidence gathered from 18-year-old Abdul Razak Ali Artan's social media accounts and collected from witnesses indicates he developed a fondness for the teachings of Awlaki.
Artan was killed by police after knifing and running over students with his car Monday. At least 11 people were hurt.
Artan bought knives on the day of the attack. Three of the 11 people wounded were still hospitalized Wednesday morning. (Photo: Associated Press)
Ohio attacker sought information from ISIS sites
That same source tells Circa that Artan had accessed information from public ISIS communication sites.
Authorities, however, have found no evidence yet indicating Artan, a legal U.S. resident born in Somalia, had any contact with terror group leaders recently or during his family’s travels through Pakistan a decade ago.
Counterterrorism officials will determine Artan's ties to terror
"There is no doubt that ISIL maintains the intent, and capability to direct, support, promote and inspire acts of violence," the counterterrorism official said.
"We view the ties to ISIL on a spectrum, on the one end there are individuals who latch onto or are merely inspired by ISIL's narrative and propaganda, then there are individuals who receive degrees of assistance, and then at the other end; there are individuals who receive direction from ISIL plotters."
'Soldier of the Islamic State'
On Tuesday, Islamic State's media outlet, Amaq News Agency, claimed Artan was a "soldier of the Islamic State" and that the attack was done in their name, according to Site Intelligence Group, an organization that monitors extremists on the Internet.
Carol Cratty, spokeswoman for the FBI, told Circa "it's too early in the investigation" to comment on the case.