NEW YORK: Author Salman Rushdie's alleged assailant Hadi Matar sympathised with an Iranian military organization and Shia extremists law enforcement sources said.
During a preliminary roundup, Matar's social media accounts indicated that he is "sympathetic to Shia extremism and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) causes", NBC News said quoting a law enforcement source.
On August 13, as Rushdie was getting ready to take part in a discussion on creative freedom in the US, Matar stabbed him in a New York education and spiritual centre.
Rushdie was flown by helicopter from the Chautauqua centre to a medical facility in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he underwent surgery for injuries to his neck, liver, arm, and eye and was put on a ventilator.
The Indian-born author's son Zafar said in a statement to The Daily Mail on Sunday that his father was back to his "feisty and defiant" self and had fully healed.
Another possible motive for the attack was the US drone strike that killed IRGC Major General Qasem Soleimani close to Baghdad. According to reports, Matar's phone had images of Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the head of the Iraqi paramilitary formation that supported Iran who was also killed in the 2020 drone assault.
The Iranian military's IRGC division conducts operations both at home and abroad, particularly in Iraq and Syria.
According to ABC News, investigators discovered a false New Jersey driver's licence with Matar's image but the name "Hassan Mughniyah" to demonstrate Matar's strong support for pro-Iranian Shia terrorist organisations.
Because of Rushdie's book "Satanic Verses," which the late Iranian Supreme Leader deemed blasphemous, he was given the death fatwa in 1989, and Iranian organisations have placed a $3 million premium on his head.