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14 March 2018, 07:20 | Regina Holmes
Three Men Arrested On Gun Charges Are Now Suspects In The Minnesota Mosque Bombing
The three connected to the bombings and a fourth IL man were arrested on Tuesday morning and charged with possession of a machine gun. According to the court affidavit, Hari often stays at his parents' home because his home has no running water or electricity. McWhorter and Mack will make their respective initial appearances at a date to be determined by the U.S. Clerk of the Court.
McWhorter allegedly told an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent during an interview that the three rented a pickup in Champaign and drove more than 500 miles (805 kilometers) to Minnesota with a plan to bomb the mosque, according to a criminal complaint.
Police in Bloomington were called in the early morning of August 5 about an explosion at the mosque, after a bomb was thrown from a van or truck through the window of the imam's office while worshippers were gathered for morning prayers, and the vehicle was seen speeding away.
According to the federal affidavit, one of the suspects, McWhorter, said the group bombed the mosque to "scare [Muslims] out of the country" and to "show them [Muslims], 'Hey, you're not welcome here, get the fuck out'".
McWhorter originally denied having any knowledge of the bombing, but according to the complaint, he later admitted that each person had a role in the mosque bombing with Hari as the driver, Morris smashing the window, and McWhorter throwing the bomb. The fire was extinguished by the sprinklers. "A search warrant was also executed at a store/office owned by Hari, located at 100 S. Main Road in Clarence (Illinois.)" Even as officials in Illinois sorted through charges against the quartet, federal authorities in Bloomington, Minnesota, were announcing the mosque-related developments late Tuesday afternoon. McWhorter also provided details of the bomb plots, authorities said.
Hussein tells The Associated Press that Muslims are glad that the suspects are "no longer a threat to our community".
Its national office also urged mosques and Islamic centers nationwide to increase security. Minnesota is home to the largest Somali community outside of east Africa, with an estimated 57,000 people, according to the most recent census estimates.
Mohamed Omar (left), the executive director of the Dar Al Farooq Center Islamic Center, leads afternoon prayers outside the police tape after a bombing a year ago. It's unclear if the reward money will be paid.
"A witness saw something being thrown at the imam's office window from a van or truck before the blast", Asad Zaman, director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, said at a news conference.
"That bombing that took place last summer has been a tragedy for all Minnesotans", said Greg Brooker, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota.
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