The Somali-born student who carried out a car-and-knife attack at Ohio State University complained on his Facebook account about US interference in countries with Muslim communities, a law enforcement official said.
Abdul Razak Ali Artan warned about Muslims he described as belonging to "a sleeper cell, waiting for a signal."
He said that if the US wanted "Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks, then make peace with 'dawla in al sham,'" a term for the Islamic State group, according to the law enforcement official, who was briefed on the investigation but wasn't authorised to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Artan specifically protested the killing of Muslims in Burma, where a UN official last week said a Muslim minority group was suffering violence tantamount to ethnic cleansing at the state's hands.
Investigators are looking into whether the attack that injured 11 people yesterday was an act of terror. Dozens of FBI agents began searching Artan's apartment.
Artan drove a car up onto a sidewalk and plowed his car into a group of pedestrians shortly before 10 am He then got out and began stabbing people with a butcher knife before he was shot to death by a campus police officer.
Most of the victims were hurt by the car, and two had been stabbed, officials said. One had a fractured skull. Four remained hospitalised today.
Artan was born in Somalia and was a legal permanent US resident, according to a US official who was not authorized to discuss the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.
A US government official said Artan came to the United States in 2014 as the child of a refugee. He had been living in Pakistan from 2007 to 2014.
It is not uncommon for refugees to go to a third-party country before being permanently resettled.
Classes at the 60,000-student university were canceled after the attack but resumed today. The school planned a vigil for today night.
Students said they were nervous about returning and planned to take precautions such as not walking alone.
"It's kind of nerve-wracking going back to class right after it," said Kaitlin Conner, 18, of Cleveland, who said she had a midterm exam to take.
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