3 Suspects in Bombing of Minnesota Mosque Face Weapons Charges
Three men from rural central IL were charged with the Minnesota mosque bombing previous year.
The men are also suspected in the attempted bombing of an abortion clinic on November 7 in Champaign, about 140 miles south of Chicago, according to the USA attorney's office in Springfield. A fourth man, Ellis Mack, 18, was also arrested on suspicion of possession of a machine gun, but is not linked to the bomb attacks. All three hail from Clarence, a small rural community and it is still unclear why they targeted the specific Minnesota mosque more than 500 miles from where they reside.
The men allegedly traveled some 500 miles (805 kilometers) from a rural farming community in IL to carry out the August 5 attack, which caused a damaging fire at the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis.
Federal Bureau of Investigation notes showed that the motive behind this attack was to let Muslims know that they are not welcome in the United States and "to scare them away".
An affidavit said the criminals broke a window in the Imam's office and threw a pipe bomb which exploded, causing a fire. He claimed that it was Mr. Hari's idea to target the mosque and that Mr. Morris had smashed the mosque's window with a sledgehammer, according to the affidavit.
The incident was similar to the attempted bomb attack at an abortion clinic three months later.
"This is definitely a relief that this case is finally to conclusion and those assailants-slash-suspects are apprehended and no longer a threat to our community", Hussein said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
Its national office also urged mosques and Islamic centers nationwide to increase security.
Soon after the explosive device was thrown in, the mosque's executive director, Mohamed Omar, said, a member of the congregation rushed outside and saw a truck driving away from the mosque's parking lot. The FBI had offered a $30,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the bombing. There has been no news on whether the reward has been paid. The video didn't show the blast itself.
"That bombing that took place last summer was a tragedy for all Minnesotans", U.S. Attorney Gregory Brooker said, adding that it remains a top priority for law enforcement.
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