Three Men Arrested On Gun Charges Are Now Suspects In The Minnesota Mosque Bombing
14 March, 2018, 19:19
U.S. federal authorities on Tuesday charged three men from rural central IL with the bombing of a Minnesota mosque previous year and said one of the suspects told an investigator the goal of the attack was to "scare" Muslims out of the United States. A law enforcement affidavit alleges that all four men were in possession of fully automatic assault rifles from October 2017 to March 2018-apparently the basis for Tuesday morning's arrests. 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. 2017 blast at Dar Al-Farooq an act of terrorism. No one at the Minnesota mosque was injured, but the building sustained minor damage.
A complaint said a tip in December led authorities to investigate the three men, after a person sent the local sheriff photos of guns and bomb-making material inside Hari's parents' home, where Hari often stayed.
In January, another informant stated that these men were responsible for the Minnesota mosque and attempted abortion clinic bombings.
Morris told one informant that Hari had promised to pay him and McWhorter $18,000 for participating in the mosque bombing, according to the complaint.
"Michael Hari also has a YouTube channel, and people in town tell us that they were planning on rallying a militia together to try to fight the Federal Bureau of Investigation", said reporter Aaron Eades from our news partner, WCIA-TV.
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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. 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.
A confidential source told authorities that Morris said he made the pipe bomb that McWhorter threw into the mosque. Minnesota is home to an estimated 57,000 Somalis, the largest Somali population outside of east Africa, according to the MN State Demographic Center. The mosque's executive director, Mohamed Omar, said the vehicle immediately sped away.
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"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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