Suspects in Bombing of Minnesota Mosque Face Weapons Charges

Suspects in Bombing of Minnesota Mosque Face Weapons Charges

Investigators believe Hari, McWhorter, Morris are also responsible for an attempted bombing of a Women's Health Practice in Champaign, Illinois on November 7, 2017.

In a written statement, the US attorney's office in Springfield said the men - identified as Michael B. Hari, 47, Joe Morris, 22, and Michael McWhorter, 29 - also face charges of possession of assault rifles, which are classified as machine guns, and attempting to bomb an IL abortion clinic in November.

McWhorter also allegedly admitted the men threw a PVC pipe bomb through the window of the clinic, but the device failed to go off. No one was injured, but the explosion caused extensive damage to the Imam's office.

Charges also state that, when drinking one night with Morris and McWhorter, a source said Morris began talking about throwing a black powder pipe bomb at a mosque in Minnesota.

Federal authorities say the men were arrested Tuesday in IL on separate gun charges and that they were suspects in the mosque bombing. All four men are from Clarence, a rural community 35 miles north of Champaign-Urbana. 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 affidavit says, a confidential source told police in Ford County that Hari had guns and bomb-making materials inside his parents home. He said they wanted to let Muslims know they are not welcome in the United States and "scare them out of the country," according notes taken by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Democratic National Committee deputy chairman and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison on Wednesday called it "an outrage" that President Donald Trump has not condemned the weekend bombing of a Minnesota mosque as a terrorist attack.

In announcing the charges against the men, interim U.S. Attorney Gregory Brooker described the bombing as a "tragedy for all Minnesotans".

According to a 16-page probable cause statement filed in U.S. District Court in Urbana, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives received a tip February 19 about potential bomb-making materials at the home of Hari's parents in Clarence.

Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Muslim advocacy and civil liberties group Council on American-Islamic Relations, welcomed news of the arrests.

Hussein tells The Associated Press that Muslims are glad that the suspects are "no longer a threat to our community".

The FBI is not commenting on any possible local ties to Minnesota, but leaders at Dar-Al Farooq hope a larger message remains. The video didn't show the blast itself.

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