IL trio linked to bombing cases at mosque and women's clinic

15 March, 2018, 02:31 | Author: Sam Montgomery
  • 3 Suspects in Bombing of Minnesota Mosque Face Weapons Charges

Three Ford County men have been charged with arson in the bombing past year of a mosque in suburban Minneapolis.

Federal investigators on Tuesday arrested three rural IL men on a criminal gun complaint that also links them to an attempted bombing at a women's health clinic in Champaign and a mosque attack in Minnesota. 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. Hari was arrested as he was traveling to a court appearance in Ford County on unrelated assault charges.

In a written statement, the USA 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.

Ellis "EJ" Mack, 18, was also arrested on charges of possession of a machine gun, but has not been charged in the mosque bombing.

Hari described in an April 2017 Chicago Tribune article how he drafted a $10 billion plan to build a wall along the border with Mexico, citing President Donald Trump's call for such a barrier. McWhorter reportedly told the authorities that Hari had promised his accomplices money for taking part in the bombing.

Authorities launched an investigation against the three men after a person sent the local police force photos of guns and bomb-making material inside Hari's parents' home, where he often stayed as his own home had no running water or electricity.

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The Justice Department said Wednesday that law enforcement had received a tip from a confidential source in January that Hari, McWhorter and Morris were behind the bombing.

The complaint said nothing about a possible motivation for the clinic attack.

Later Tuesday, the executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said that there were still many questions that need answering.

"It's not every day in the United States that a mosque is bombed or a plot to kill Muslims is foiled", he said.

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.

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. There has been no news on whether the reward has been paid. Mosque leaders later released security video from inside the mosque that caught the moments before the explosion, and some smoke and flying debris.



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