US Army insignia
US Army insigniaIsrael news photo: US Army

The man who pulled the trigger and massacred 13 U.S. army soldiers Thursday and wounded 30 others is the grandson of Arabs from Samaria, a devout Muslim psychiatrist and a U.S. army officer who screamed, “Allah Akbar” (Arabic for Allah is the Greatest) before he fired. The attack ended after he was seriously wounded, and he is in intensive care at an army hospital.

He was identified at Major Nidal Malkik Hasan, whose cousin said became stricter in his devotion to Islam after his mother died nine years ago. The murder at the Fort Hood, Texas base, the largest in the United States, is the worst Muslim-related attack in the country since the 9/11 terrorist  attacks in 2001.

An aftershock of the massacre is the revelation that many warning signs were clear before he began his shooting spree, and Texas Senator Bailey Hutchinson said that investigators are examining if  "there is something more than just one deranged person” involved in the episode. It is not yet known if Hasan was able to gain possession of his two non-military semi-automatic handguns weapons without outside assistance.

Either Hasan or someone with the same name began posting on websites six months ago that suicide bombers might be characterized as soldiers who save their comrades by throwing themselves over grenades. At approximately the same time, he was transferred from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center to Fort Hood

A classmate of Hasan in a master’s program last year described him as “Muslim first and an American second.” One Islamic extremist website has claimed he was hero who "killed no less than 12 Crusade foreigners” and sowed “terror and chaos in the ranks of the enemy.”

Muslims in the United States immediately expressed fears of a backlash. His grandfather in Al-Bireh, located next to Ramallah in Samaria, told Reuters, "America made him what he is. Whether he became angry or something else, I don't know."  

Blogger Robert Salaam, a former U.S. marine who converted to Islam, wrote, “I know that my fellow non-Muslim Americans would love to see me leave my country. I wonder where they would like me to go.”

Hasan's brother, who was visiting the United States, hastily returned to his Al-Bireh home after the murders.