A man who stabbed nine people in a Minnesota shopping centre before being shot dead was a “soldier” of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the group claimed yesterday as the FBI investigated the attack as a potential act of terrorism.

“[The] executor of the stabbing attacks in Minnesota was a soldier of the Islamic State,” said Amaq news agency, a propaganda outfit for Isil.The bulletin added the attack was carried out in response to the group’s call to “target citizens of countries belonging to the crusader coalition” – a reference to the US-led alliance of countries participating in a bombing campaign against the jihadist group in Syria and in Iraq.

The wounded were not named but included one 15-year-old girl, said Dave Kleis, the mayor of St Cloud. All were expected to survive.The mayor named the off-duty police officer who killed the attacker as Jason Falconer.Rick Thornton, an FBI official in charge of the investigation, said the stabbing spree was being investigated as a “potential act of terrorism”.

Witnesses in the shopping centre in St Cloud, said the attacker, who was wearing a private security uniform, had been muttering words that were apparently addressed to Allah, and asked at least one person if they were a Muslim before stabbing them. Local police chief William Anderson said the unidentified attacker was known to police for minor traffic offenses.

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