Man sentenced to 15 years for ISIS-inspired knife attack at Mall of America

February 16, 2018 GMT

A 20-year old man who stabbed two brothers at the Mall of America last November and later claimed he did it on behalf of ISIS, was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Hennepin County judge on Friday.

As he was about to leave the courtroom, Mahad Abdiraham turned to news media cameras and held up the index finger on his right hand, a symbol recently adopted by ISIS supporters. The index finger symbol has also been used in nonpolitical, but religious way by supporters of the Islamic religion.

The cameras are allowed in the courtroom as part of a state courts pilot project.

Abdiraham was asked by Judge Kelly Meyer if he wished to speak, but he declined. He pleaded guilty last month and said at the time that he went to Mall of America to answer the call for Jihad because he believed the United States was at war with Islam.

The brothers, Alex Sanchez, 19, and John Sanchez, 25, both of Minneapolis, who were badly injured when Abdiraham slashed both of them with his knife, were not in the courtroom when the sentencing occurred. Victims statements from the two of them were read by Sharon Born, a victims advocate for the Hennepin County attorneys office.

Judge Meyer said the sentence was the most she could hand out under state sentencing guidelines.

I dont think its enough, said Cindy Leon, the godmother for Alex, who attended the sentencing.

The two brothers had been at the mall with their family as part of a weekly trip they took on Sundays, and were at Macys in the process of trying on clothes when Abdiraham randomly attacked them.

Randy Furst 612-673-4224