ISIS claims link to Minnesota mall attack

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ST. CLOUD, Minn. — The man who stabbed eight people at a Minnesota mall Saturday before being shot dead by an off-duty police officer was a “soldier of the Islamic state,” according to an ISIS-linked news agency.

The statement posted online Sunday by the Amaq agency follows a pattern of ISIS-related media claiming responsibility for what appear to be the acts of individuals across Europe in the past few months.

CNN cannot independently confirm this latest claim.

Witnesses said the man, wearing a private security company uniform, entered

Crossroads Mall on Saturday night, made a reference to Allah and asked at least one person if they were Muslim before he attacked, police said in a statement.

Seven of the wounded were treated and released, while one victim remains hospitalized.

None of their injuries are life-threatening, St. Cloud Police chief William B. Anderson said.

Ashley Bayne, an employee of JCPenney at the mall, was visiting a coworker at the time of the incident.

“All of sudden chaos just broke out,” she told CNN’s Nick Valencia on Sunday.

“There was a bunch of people running into the JCPenney mall entrance, and they were just screaming that someone was going around the mall stabbing people, and that there was blood everywhere. It was just honestly a really scary experience.”
Bayne said she ran out to the parking lot and took off in her car.

The stabbings occurred in multiple locations inside the mall, including the common area and in several stores. The mall has security teams on site but they are not armed.

Shortly after, an off-duty officer confronted the attacker.

“The individual we believe to be responsible for the victim’s stab wounds is currently deceased inside the mall,” police said early Sunday.

Police knew attacker:

While the attacker was not identified, authorities said he’d had three previous encounters with police.

Anderson said most of the encounters were for minor traffic violations. None resulted in an arrest.