PICKERINGTON, Ohio – An Ohio high school was placed on lockdown last week after a Muslim man threatened to shoot students with an AK-47 due to the current conflict between Israel and Hamas.
According to police, a man with a heavy accent called Pickerington North High School on Wednesday morning. The man, who identified himself as “Mohammed Shehad,” promised to shoot students at the high school with an AK-47.
“The school received a call [at around 11:15 a.m.] from a male with a heavy accent,” said Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen. “He indicated that he was going to attack Pickerington North due to attacks on Israel and was going to kill the kids and that he had an AK-47 gun.”
Police officials believe the man’s threat was driven by anti-Israel sentiments.
“My sense is that due to the way he identified himself it sounds like he was upset at Israel,” Phalen said.
Phalen stressed that police “really don’t know what his frame of mind was or what he was thinking.” Nevertheless, he said “the nature of the threat was not typical.”
According to the Columbus Dispatch, Pickerington North High School was placed on exterior lockdown immediately following the threat. All meetings and activities at the school were also canceled on Wednesday.
Phalen said no arrest has been made, but security at the school was increased Thursday and detectives are working to trace the number and identify the caller. Though Phalen believes the threat has largely passed, he said “there is no way to be absolutely certain.”
Patrick Poole, a terrorism analyst who lives in Ohio, told The Washington Free Beacon that the caller was most likely a Muslim who was upset with Israel’s recent military actions against Hamas. He also warned of the increasing threat of Islam in Ohio.
“We have had a growing problem here in the Columbus area for years that local law enforcement and the media want to continue to sweep under the carpet,” Poole said. “Not only has central Ohio been the home of the largest known al-Qaeda cell since 9/11—with several members currently in prison on terrorism charges and at least two deported—we’ve had a number of cases of homegrown jihadists come through town.”
Poole hopes last week’s shooting threat will cause people to realize the danger of radical Islam in the United States.
“Now that the threat is targeting area school children, hopefully it will begin to wake people up to the scope of the problem,” he stated.
As the Israel/Hamas conflict continues, many experts have warned of radical Muslims’ global ambitions. As previously reported, the son of a Hamas leader warned in July that “Hamas is seeking conquest and taking over.”
“[The] destruction of the state of Israel is not Hamas’ final destination,” he explained in an appearance on CNN. “Hamas’ final destination is building the Islamic khilafah (caliphate), which means an Islamic state under the rubble of every other civilization. These are the ultimate goals of the movement.”