A Muslim immigrant from Africa unleashed a bloody machete attack on patrons at a restaurant owned by a Christian Arab Israeli in Columbus, Ohio, Thursday night and the FBI is now investigating it as a possible act of “lone-wolf” terrorism.
CBS News was first to identify the attacker, who entered the Nazareth Mediterranean Restaurant and began slashing people, as a man named Mohamed Barry. CBS reported Barry had a background from Somalia but a family friend told WND Saturday that Barry was originally from Guinea in west Africa. Columbus Police have yet to confirm his country of origin.
Barry was known to the FBI, but not under full-scale investigation, law enforcement sources told ABC News. He was in a law enforcement database which includes names potentially related to terrorism, sources said.
“He came to each table and just started hitting them,” one of the diners, Karen Bass, told CBS News. “There was a man on the floor bleeding. There was blood on the floor. It was awful. It was just carnage.”
Four people were wounded in the machete attack, one critically.
The owner of the restaurant, Hany Baransi, who is a Christian Arab from Israel, said he had not taken a day off since Jan. 2 but took off Thursday night because of a migraine headache. He is a proud Israeli citizen who flies the Israeli flag in his restaurant.
“Obviously we were targeted because there’s a whole bunch of businesses around here,” he told the Columbus Dispatch.
As an Arab Christian who supports Israel, he described himself as “the minor, minor, minor of the minority. So nobody likes me.”
Watch restaurant owner Hany Baransi’s interview with the Columbus Dispatch:
Police said the man entered the restaurant and asked for the owner.
He came back about 35 minutes later with the machete and started hacking patrons.
“This was a brutal attack,” said Sgt. Rich Weiner, with Columbus Police. “The second time, nothing was said. He just came in and started the attack.”
“Right now, there’s nothing that leads us to believe that this is anything but just a random attack,” Weiner said.
Two men left the restaurant and called 9-1-1 while another threw chairs at the attacker. Another patron reportedly reached for something behind the register and that’s when the jihadist stopped his assault and fled. After a five-mile car chase, he exited his vehicle with the machete. That’s when officers shot him dead.
The attacker may have traveled to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, in 2012, CBS reported, citing unnamed federal law enforcement officials.
Columbus a favorite dumping ground for Somali refuges
Columbus is home to the second-largest Somali-American community in the U.S. after Minneapolis.
And how did all the Somalis and other north Africans get in Columbus?
As WND has reported in a series of articles, the main route into the United States for Somali nationals is through the refugee resettlement program. The U.S government has since 1992 worked with the United Nations to permanently resettle more than 110,000 Somali refugees into dozens of U.S. cities, including Minneapolis, Columbus, San Diego, and smaller cities in Maine, Texas, Idaho, Washington, Georgia, Michigan, Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas.
More than 99 percent of Somali refugees are Sunni Muslims, and the FBI has confirmed that at least 40 young Somali men have left their adopted homeland since 2007 to join the ranks of foreign terrorist organizations including al-Shabab in Somalia and ISIS in Syria. Dozens more have been charged and convicted of providing material support to overseas terrorists.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich has been supportive of the refugee resettlements in his state. Like many GOP governors, he has questioned the quality of the vetting process for Syrian refugees, but nothing has been said about the Somali refugees who have been arriving in large numbers for years and struggling to assimilate. They continue to arrive in U.S. cities at a rate of 500 to 800 a month without so much as a word from the GOP governors.
Since 2002, the U.S. State Department has delivered 7,020 Somali refugees to Ohio, and 5,852 of them have been sent to Columbus, according to the federal refugee database.
CBS News homeland security correspondent Jeff Pegues reported that investigators were searching for a motive, running down leads to try to determine if the attack was “somehow tied to terrorist organizations.”
Cruz, Sessions demand Obama stop hiding jihad attacks
It took more than five months for the Justice Department to decide that the July 2015 mass shooting that killed five U.S. servicemen in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was a terrorist attack. That attack was carried out by Mohammed Youssef Abdulazeez, who emigrated to the U.S. from Kuwait with his parents at the age of 6.
In November last year, Faisal Mohammad unleashed a knife attack on fellow students at University of California-Merced, a case that received almost no national media attention and was never ruled a terrorist attack by the Obama administration.
The 2009 attack by Maj. Nidal Hason at Fort Hood, Texas, that killed 13 soldiers was ruled “workplace violence.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, recently sent a letter calling on the Obama administration to stop covering up the arrests of Muslim jihadists inside the U.S.
The letter states that since early 2014 there have been 113 arrests of Muslims implicated in terrorist activity on U.S. soil and the Obama administration refuses to provide an immigration history on any of them. Most of the cases have received little or no coverage in the national media.
The restaurant in Ohio remains closed while police investigate.