Authorities STILL aren’t even sure whether the attacker (in custody) is an American citizen.
It may come as a surprise to Americans who were keenly following their favorite media outlet, that on Saturday, in Roanoke, Virginia, there was an attempted ISIS-inspired beheading attempt. Surprising, because virtually nobody covered it. However, as ABC reports this morning, the FBI has launched a federal terrorism investigation into a weekend stabbing in Roanoke, VA, looking at whether the attacker may have been trying to behead his victim in an alleged ISIS-inspired assault.
While it is unclear if there was a media blackout surrounding the attack, what is more troubling is that according to ABC, US authorities had been aware of the alleged attacker, 20-year-old Wasil Farooqui, of the Roanoke area, for some time. In the past year, he traveled to Turkey and may have tried to sneak into Syria, where ISIS is recruiting and inspiring sympathizers from across the world, sources said.
As ABC adds, Farooqui was arrested Saturday by Roanoke County Police on charges of assault with malicious wounding, and he’s being held without bond at the Western Virginia Regional Jail, according to the sources and a jail database.
During the Saturday stabbing, Farooqui allegedly injured a man and woman at an apartment complex in Roanoke, yelling “Allah Akbar” as he attacked them with a knife, sources told ABC News. Authorities believe he may have been trying to behead the male victim, who was likely picked at random, ABC News was told.
CBS adds that the victims told police they were attacked as they entered The upscale Pines Apartments just before 8 p.m. The male was able to fight off the attacker, who fled the scene, police said.
Farooqui and his two alleged victims were hospitalized after the attack. They were in serious condition according to local news.
While officers were at the hospital with the victims, a male, subsequently identified as Farooqui, came into the emergency room with injuries of his own, authorities said. He met the description of the suspect in the stabbing, and further investigation by police led to his arrest, they said.
“The FBI is working with the Police Department following the incident that occurred on Saturday evening,” the head of the FBI’s Richmond field office, Special Agent In Charge Adam Lee, said in a statement. “While I cannot discuss details of the investigation at this time, I do want to reassure the community that we are working to determine the nature of the incident.”
It was not clear if Farooqui had a lawyer. It was also not clear how, unlike in Europe, where any attempted beheading gets media coverage within seconds of taking place, this event which took place three days ago, has so far avoided the broader press.
A U.S. intelligence source tells CBS News Farooqui has been on the FBI’s radar for months and is believed to be “self-radicalized”… even though other sources confirm he traveled to Turkey and may have been in Syrua. Authorities aren’t even sure whether Farooqui is an American citizen.