The Cross Roads Mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota, was shut down Sunday when an assailant made reference to Allah while stabbing four shoppers before being shot dead by an off-duty policeman.
Police said the suspect, armed with a knife, entered the mall about 8 p.m. Saturday.
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"That individual made some references to Allah and we confirmed that he asked at least one person if they were Muslim before assaulting them," said St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson.
According to authorities, the suspect was later shot by an off-duty police officer from another jurisdiction. Investigators say the suspect was carrying at least one knife.
Of the eight victims, one was admitted to the hospital. Investigators say the injuries were not life threatening.
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Police believe the suspect acted alone. Authorities say the suspect was wearing a private security uniform at the time of the attack. They say they had contact with the suspect in the past, but all of those cases were for minor traffic violations.
"It has hit home for us," said Anderson. "But I want everybody in St. Cloud to know that we will be diligent and we will get to the bottom of this."
What's being called the "Knife Jihad" has been afflicting Europe and elsewhere this summer – a spree of seemingly random stabbings perpetrated by Muslim assailants attacking non-Muslims.
Below is a list of similar mostly stabbing attacks in the last three months:
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- Aug. 30: A female police officer in Toulouse, France, was slashed in the throat outside a police station. It was immediately dismissed by authorities as being carried out by a "mentally sick" man. The suspect, a native of Algeria, tried to grab the officer's weapon and when the attempt failed, he took a knife and slashed her throat. That attack came three days after a 26-year-old man was been detained after stabbing a picnicking couple in western Germany. The victims said he was shouting "Allahu Akbar!" as he stabbed them. Oberhausen police say the suspect was overpowered by one of his victims, a 57-year-old man who was seriously injured in the attack. The other victim, a 66-year-old woman, suffered life-threatening injuries.
- Aug. 24: In Cairo, Egypt, the state news agency says a knife-wielding attacker was shot and killed after he stabbed a guard at a Coptic church. The attack happened early Wednesday at the Virgin Mary church in Cairo's western suburb of Nozha. The report says other church guards at the scene killed the assailant, "whose identity and motives were unclear." Attacks on Coptic churches in Egypt have stepped up over the past years, especially after Coptic Christians sided with the Egyptian army in the military's 2013 ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi.
- Aug. 22: Police shot and wounded a woman in Brussels after she spread panic by stabbing bus passengers, injuring two seriously and a third lightly, the city's public prosecutor's office confirmed. The incident had nothing to do with terrorism, according to Belgium authorities, who blamed it on mental illness. They did not release the woman's name, saying only that she was "Asian" and shouted something unintelligible as she hacked the commuters.
- Aug. 20: At an apartment community in Roanoke, Virginia, 20-year-old Wasil Farooqui grabbed a butcher knife and went on a stabbing spree, seriously injuring two, while repeatedly yelling, "Allahu Akbar!" He told police he heard voices telling him to stab people.
- Aug. 19: In Strasbourg, France, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi was attacked near his home in broad daylight and left hospitalized by a knife-wielding Muslim yelling, "Allahu Akbar!" The incident was immediately scrubbed by French police as "not terrorism related" in what has become a pattern across Europe, Canada and the United States.
- Aug. 13: In Jeman, north-central Nigeria, at least seven were slaughtered in a Christian village by Fulani Muslim herdsman using machetes and guns. "The Christians were killed in their homes," Golkofa resident Sunday Saleh told Morning Star News. "Some of the victims were shot while others were cut with machetes."
- Aug. 13: A man killed a female passenger and injured at least five others in a horrific knife and fire attack on a Swiss train. They set the train ablaze with a flammable liquid and could not be questioned before he died. Authorities said the man was born in a neighboring region but did not release the man's name or his ethnic or religious background.
- Aug. 13-14: Two people were killed and six wounded in a machete attack in an eastern region of Democratic Republic of Congo where Islamic rebels have been blamed for a series of civilian massacres against Christians. The Allied Democratic Forces or ADF, an Islamist armed group of Ugandan origin, is accused of carrying out the brutal slayings.
- Aug. 6: A man with a knife and shouting "Allahu Akbar!" launched himself at two policewomen in the Belgian city of Charleroi. The perpetrator, who inflicted serious facial wounds upon one of his targets, was then fatally shot.
- Aug. 3: In London, a Muslim man stabbed to death the wife of an American professor on the busy Russell Square, injuring five others. The perpetrator was an 18-year-old Muslim man of Somali origin who had been resettled in Norway but, again, British authorities said they had "no evidence of radicalization" and attributed the attack to mental illness.
- Aug. 2: In Gada Biyu, Nigeria, nine Christian villagers were cut down by Muslim terrorists who also burned three churches.
- Aug. 1: About noon in Ninte, Nigeria, two Christian women were hacked to death by Muslim herdsman. "They cut them with machetes. A woman and her daughter in-law were killed by the Fulani herdsmen while the man is still in the hospital as I talk with you," an eyewitness told Morning Star News.
- July 26: Two ISIS terrorists entered a Catholic church in the northern French province of Normandy while a mass was in progress. They forced the elderly priest to his knees on the altar and slit his throat, filming the entire attack. A nun was also left fighting for her life, and more would have been killed if one nun had not escaped the church and called police, who arrived and shot the attackers dead.
- July 19: In Wuerzburg, Germany, it was reported that a 17-year-old Afghan refugee attacked people on a train with an ax and knife, injuring nearly 20 passengers, four seriously. The Afghan boy fled the train but was chased and shot dead by police. The Muslim teen's motive was "not yet clear," the BBC reported.
- July 18: In central Egypt a Muslim mob attacked a group of Coptic priests and their families with knives and batons, killing one and wounding several others. The attack came months after an armed Muslim mob stripped an elderly Christian woman and paraded her naked on the streets while looting and torching seven Christian homes in the same area, security officials said.
- July 15: In Nice, France, a man planned to hack to death mourners as they were praying at a memorial service for the 84 victims of a jihadist named Mohamed L. Bouhlel, a French Tunisian immigrant who drove a truck through a crowded promenade on Bastille Day. The perpetrator, a Muslim, was caught by cops carrying a "huge blade" as he approached the crowded prayer vigil. Cops are said to have pounced on the man who one witness reported was carrying a "machete."
- July 9: A female pastor was hacked to death close to Nigeria's capital, Abuja. Police arrested six suspects believed to be Muslim.
- June 30: In the town of Obi, in the central Nigerian state of Nasarawa, a father of seven, Rev. Joseph Kurah, was ambushed by two armed men after he arrived at his farm. His severely mutilated body, hacked to death, was later recovered from the scene. Fulani Muslim herdsmen are suspected in the killing, according to WorldWatch Monitor.
- June 30: In Israel, a 17-year-old Palestinian stabbed and killed Hallel Yaffa Ariel while she was sleeping in her bedroom in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba. The assailant was fatally shot by security guards. That same day, a Palestinian assailant stabbed two Israeli civilians in Natanya, north of Tel Aviv and was shot dead by an armed civilian.
- June 16: A "radicalized" 22-year-old Islamist was arrested by police in southwestern France with a knife and machete in his possession. He planned to attack "English and American tourists, then security forces," according to French reports.
- June 13: A police officer and his wife were killed inside their home in what police called an ISIS-inspired knife attack near Paris, the Independent reported.