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FBI Investigating After 4 Injured In Machete Attack At Ohio Restaurant

Federal officials are investigating the attacker, who was killed by police, for possible links to terrorism.

Posted on February 12, 2016, at 7:35 p.m. ET

The Columbus, Ohio, restaurant where police say a man attacked several people with a machete Thursday.
Kantele Franko / AP

The Columbus, Ohio, restaurant where police say a man attacked several people with a machete Thursday.

The FBI has launched an investigation after a machete-wielding man stormed a Columbus, Ohio, restaurant Thursday evening and began slashing people inside, leaving four injured.

The attack took place around dinner time at the Nazareth Restaurant and Deli, where patrons said a man, later identified by police as 30-year-old Mohamed Barry, entered and "randomly attacked, spontaneously, without warning."

The four victims, three males and one female, were hospitalized in conditions ranging from stable to critical, but all are expected to recover, officials said.

Restaurant customers, and an employee armed with a baseball bat, rushed the attacker, who then fled in his car, leading police on a 5-mile chase through the city, before he was shot and killed in a confrontation with officers.

Barry was previously known to the FBI and was listed in a law enforcement database, which includes names of those with potential links to terrorism, ABC News and Fox News reported.

A law enforcement official told CNN authorities were investigating the incident as a "lone wolf" terror attack.

Columbus Police said Barry was armed with a machete in one hand and a knife in the other when he exited his vehicle and "lunged at one of the officers." A Taser was deployed, but it was ineffective. Barry was then shot multiple times and pronounced dead at the scene. No officers were injured.

Witnesses at the restaurant said the attack seemed to come out of nowhere.

"He came in and immediately attacked a man on the right," a witness told a 911 dispatcher. "My kids were in there. We dragged kids and we left."

Another man called 911, reporting that his wife was inside the restaurant and "terribly hysterical."

"My wife just called me in a panic," he said, "telling me that a guy in the restaurant's stabbing people. And she's hiding, I think, out in the back. She cut her hand pretty bad."

A "compilation of information gathered at the scene" prompted local authorities to contact Homeland Security officials who alerted the FBI, Columbus Deputy Police Chief Michael Woods said.

"One of the additional factors was based on what we've seen around the country and internationally," Woods said, noting that the attack "raised enough flags with us" to have the FBI investigate.

A motive for the attack was not immediately known, Columbus Police Chief Kimberley Jacobs said Friday.

"Thats what the FBI is going to look at," Jacobs said.

The owner of the restaurant, however, said he believes the business was targeted because he is Israeli.

"Obviously, we were targeted because there's a whole bunch of businesses around here," Hany Baransi, who is from Israel, told the Columbus Dispatch. "I'm the only foreigner."

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