Homeland Security

Machete Attack in Ohio Yet Another Case of 'Known Wolf' Terrorism

The man who attacked patrons and staff of an Israeli-owned restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, last Thursday evening and was later killed in a confrontation with police had already been investigated by the FBI and was on the terror watch list, in what is yet another example of what I have termed “Known Wolf” terrorism.

As I reported at PJ Media on Friday, Mohammad Barry, 30, entered the Nazareth Restaurant and Deli after 5:00 p.m. on Thursday. After asking questions about where the owner of the restaurant was from, Barry left. He returned about 30 minutes later with a machete and began attacking those inside.

Four individuals were taken to the hospital. Police caught up with Barry about five miles from the scene, where he was shot and killed after lunging at police with the machete and a knife.

Now, more details are emerging about the suspect.

According to Barry’s uncle, he moved to Ohio two years ago from Philadelphia. An immigrant from Guinea (not Somalia, as had been initially reported by CBS News), he was in the U.S. on a green card. His uncle states that Barry was supposed to be married three weeks from now.

The uncle also states that he received a mysterious text message from Barry before the attack:

The uncle says he knew something wasn’t right when he received a strange text message from Barry just five hours before the attack.

He says the message was in Arabic and English, but didn’t understand the meaning. His uncle couldn’t show or read the text because he said the FBI now has his phone.

The owner of the restaurant, Hany Barsani, told The Tower that Barry had shouted “Allah Akbar” as he attacked police (Barsani was not a witness to this, presumably he had been informed of it):

According to authorities, Nazareth’s employees and patrons fought back and threw chairs at Barry, who fled the eatery after injuring four diners. He led cops on a five-mile chase before his vehicle spun off the road and, armed with his machete and another knife, he lunged at the officers.

“He yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ and then he attacked them with the machete and that’s when they shot him and killed him,” Baransi said.

Baransi says that he believes the attack was an incident of terrorism. In fact, Barry had been on the FBI’s radar more than four years ago, according to NBC News:

An Ohio man who slashed four restaurant patrons with a machete and was later killed by police had come to the attention of the FBI four years ago for radical comments, law enforcement officials said.

Agents took a brief look at Mohamed Barry but moved on, the officials said. The officials did not elaborate on the radical comments.

Just hours after the attack, ABC News was reporting that Barry was on a federal watch list:

The suspect, identified as Mohamed Barry, 30, according to Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz, was in a law enforcement database which includes names potentially related to terrorism, sources said. Being in the database would have flagged him if he came in contact with local authorities.

Yesterday, the Associated Press elaborated on the watch list matter:

A police spokesman said information connected to the registration of the car Barry drove triggered an alert that required contacting the local terrorism task force, which contacted the FBI.

Law enforcement authorities are tap-dancing around that Barry had not only been investigated by the FBI for radical Islamic statements, but that he continued to be on a terror watch list afterwards, and remained on it until the attack. They also appear to be downplaying the available circumstantial evidence in this case. Here might be one indicator:

The FBI is investigating the suspect’s motive, Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs said at a news conference this afternoon, adding that the motive is not yet clear.

It seems clear that authorities are trying to avoid labeling this attack “terrorism.” Observers are becoming skeptical:

Circumstantial evidence is piling up: we have heard that Barry targeted the restaurant because the owner was Israeli; that he shouted “Allah Akbar” as he lunged at police; that the FBI previously investigated his radical Islamic statements; and that he had continually been on a federal terrorist watch. All evidence points towards this attack being yet another instance of “Known Wolf” terrorism; none suggests otherwise.

For more than a year and a half, I have reported here at PJ Media on a long trail of terrorist incidents in the West and the Middle East where the suspect was already known by authorities:

Oct. 24, 2014: ‘Lone Wolf’ or ‘Known Wolf’: The Ongoing Counter-Terrorism Failure

Dec. 15, 2014: Sydney Hostage Taker Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Jan. 7, 2015: Paris Terror Attack Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Feb. 3, 2015: French Police Terror Attacker Yesterday Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Feb. 15, 2015: Copenhagen Killer Was yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Feb. 26, 2015: Islamic State Beheader ‘Jihadi John’ Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Apr. 22, 2015: Botched Attack on Paris Churches Another Case of “Known Wolf” Terrorism

May 4, 2015: Texas Attack Is Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

June 26, 2015: France’s Beheading Terrorist Was Well-Known By Authorities

July 16, 2015: Report: Chattanooga Jihadist Was Yet Another ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorist, Anonymous Feds Dispute

Aug. 22, 2015:European Train Attacker Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Oct 14, 2015:Yet Again: Turkey, Israel Terror Attacks Committed by “Known Wolves”

Nov 14, 2015: One Paris Attacker Was Previously Known to Authorities, Marks Fifth ‘Known Wolf” Attack in France This Year

What this “Known Wolf” pattern shows is that — more often than not — Western authorities failed to act sufficiently to protect the citizens they are sworn to defend.

This problem remains unaddressed, or even acknowledged, by Western political leaders.

Hopefully, the terror attack in Ohio was not a continuance of the “individual jihad” terrorism that has plagued Israel since September. But the evidence suggests that “Known Wolf” attacks are rapidly on the rise.