Law enforcement officials say the attacker was likely influenced by online militant propaganda
The Somali student who wounded 11 people in a car-ramming and knife attack on an Ohio university campus was a "soldier" of the Islamic State (IS) group, a news agency linked to the militant organisation said on Tuesday.
The Amaq agency said the rampage on Monday by Abdul Razak Ali Artan, 20, a logistics student at Ohio State University, was the result of IS calls to action.
Artan was shot dead on Monday by police moments after he drove his car into a crowd of pedestrians on the campus in Columbus, and attacked them with a butcher knife.
"He carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of international coalition countries," the agency quoted an insider source as saying, according to a translation by the SITE group that monitors militants.
Police have given no motive for the attack on the Columbus, Ohio campus.
So far, investigators have found no strong evidence linking Artan to other known militant individuals, cells or groups, two federal law enforcement officials told Reuters.
Artan's actions fit the pattern of lone-wolf militants who carried out other attacks, such as the gunman who shot to death 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in June, and the man who killed four US Marines and a Navy sailor in a shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, last year, the officials said.
CNN also cited law enforcement officials as saying that the assailant was inspired by militant propaganda.
According to media reports, Artan shared posts on social media praising al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki who encouraged militant attacks in the West.
Awlaki was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen in 2011.
Ohio is home to the second largest Somali community in the United States, numbering around 38,000 in the Columbus area alone, according to the state's Somali community association.
Members of Columbus' Somali community have denounced the attack, stressing that the attacker only represents himself.
Asha Noor, a Michigan-based Somali American Muslim activist, told Middle East Eye the public will never get the full story because Artan was killed by the police.
She criticised law enforcement officials speaking to the media about terrorism links and self-radicalisation, saying they are creating a "media frenzy" without knowing exactly what happened.
Noor added that there were no allegations of a militant attack before the assailant's ethnicity and religion were reported.
“This shows that connection to terrorism is seen through a religious lens,” she said.
The activist warned against using the incident to expand government surveillance programmes that target Somali and Muslim communities, including Countering Violent Extremism, a federal initiative that she said entraps and threatens Muslims’ civil rights under the guise of cooperation with law enforcement.
The country's largest Somali community, in Minnesota, was rocked when one of its members stabbed 10 people at a mall in September. IS later claimed the attacker was a "soldier," the same claim as for Artan.