ISIS flag (illustration)
ISIS flag (illustration)Reuters

The Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group on Sunday claimed a stabbing attack which took place a day earlier at a Minnesota mall, CNN reported, citing the Amaq news agency which is associated with ISIS.

In the attack on Saturday, a man stabbed nine people before being shot dead by an off-duty police officer. The Amaq news agency claimed the attacker was a "soldier of the Islamic state".

CNN could not independently confirm this latest claim.

"We still don't have anything substantive that would suggest anything more than what we know already, which is this was a lone attacker," St. Cloud Police Chief William Blair Anderson told the news network. "And right now, we're trying to get to the bottom of his motivations."

The FBI is calling the attack "a potential act of terrorism."

Police and witnesses said the man, wearing a private security company uniform, entered Crossroads Mall on Saturday night around 8:00 p.m. ET, made a reference to Allah and asked at least one person if they were Muslim before he attacked.

St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis said three people remain hospitalized, including one person who is in a life-threatening condition.

The stabbings occurred in multiple locations inside the mall, including the common area and in several stores. The mall has security teams on site but they are not armed, noted CNN.

While the attacker was not identified, authorities said he'd had three previous encounters with police, most of them being for minor traffic violations and none having resulted in an arrest.

The police chief said two search warrants were executed at an address in St. Cloud, and the suspect's vehicle has been impounded.

The mall stabbing was one of several incidents reported nationwide Saturday. In New York City, an explosion ripped through the Chelsea neighborhood, leaving 29 injured. A second suspicious device was found a few blocks away.

In New Jersey, an explosion went off in a garbage can on the route of a Marine Corps charity run. Thousands of people were about to participate in the 5K race in Seaside Park. No injuries were reported.