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14 March 2018, 07:22 | Israel Caldwell
Three Men Arrested On Gun Charges Are Now Suspects In The Minnesota Mosque Bombing
They were arrested along with a fourth man on suspicion of illegally possessing a machine gun.
The Dar al-Farooq mosque mainly serves Somalis in the Minneapolis area. McWhorter and Mack will make their respective initial appearances at a date to be determined by the U.S. Clerk of the Court. In court files authorities say Hari, McWhorter and Morris were responsible for the bombing of a mosque in Bloomington, Minn., on August 5, 2017, and the attempted bombing of the Women's Health Practice in Champaign, Ill., on November 7, 2017. The men arrested and charged are: Michael B. Hari, 47; Joe Morris, 22; Michael McWhorter, 29; and, Ellis Mack, 18, all of Clarence, a rural community approximately 35 miles north of Champaign-Urbana, according to information from the Department of Justice, United States Attorney John E. Childress, Central District of IL.
Three men from rural IL have been charged in connection with the 2017 bombing of a mosque in Minnesota and the attempted bombing of an abortion clinic.
Mr. McWhorter also admitted igniting what he called a "black powder bomb" and throwing it inside the mosque; after he did so, he saw a man who had looked "directly at him", according to the affidavit. No one at the Minnesota mosque was injured, but the building sustained minor damage. All three are from Clarence, a rural community of less than 100 residents some 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of Champaign-Urbana.
Federal authorities announced on Tuesday the three have been arrested on gun charges and that they are suspects in the bombing of the Minnesota mosque and an attempted bombing of an IL abortion clinic. He said they wanted to let Muslims know they are not welcome in the United States and "scare them out of the country", according to notes taken by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
A tipster sent Ford County Sheriff's Office photos of gun and bomb-making materials in a home where Hari frequented.
. Federal authorities said they have charged three men from rural central IL with the 2017 bombing. McWhorter also provided details of the bomb plots, authorities said.
Law enforcement officials investigate an explosion at the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minn. Minnesota is home to an estimated 57,000 Somalis, the largest Somali population outside of east Africa, according to the MN State Demographic Center.
Executive director Jaylani Hussein of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says the arrests are "definitely a relief".
Mohamed Omar, the center's executive director, said at the time that the mosque didn't receive any threats beforehand or claims of responsibility afterward.
"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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