3 arrested on gun charges suspected in Minnesota mosque bombing

Michael Hari mugshot via The News Gazette
Michael Hari in a 2017 police mugshot

Michael Hari mugshot via The News Gazette Michael Hari in a 2017 police mugshot

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.

A complaint released by U.S. Attorney John Childress on Tuesday announced the arrests of 47-year-old Michael Hari, 29-year-old Michael McWhorter, and 22-year-old Joe Morris, all from Clarence, Illinois, "were responsible for the bombing of a mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota". They and Ellis Mack, 18, also of Clarence, face a federal charge of possession of a machine gun, according to John E. Childress, U.S. attorney for the central district of IL.

"Hari was the driver, Morris was responsible for smashing the window in, and McWhorter was responsible for throwing the bomb in the window", the affidavit states.

The three men are also charged with the attempted bombing of the Women's Health Practice abortion clinic in Champaign, Illinois, on November 7 2017, according to a statement from the US attorney's office in Springfield, Illinois.

Tuesday, search warrants were executed at Hari's parents' home, in Paxton; a store/office owned by Hari, at 100 South Main Road, in Clarence.

Hari allegedly told McWhorter's brother when he dropped off the guns, "The police will want to come talk to me; can I keep them here until I speak to them?" said the affidavit.

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The Minneapolis FBI office has shared little information about its investigation, including whether it has identified any suspects.

The same day the tip was received, the Ford County Sheriff's Department, the University of Illinois Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation responded to the home addresses provided by the tipster.

Hari also filed a federal lawsuit last month in Central Illinois, naming the USA secretaries of agriculture and health and human services as defendants. He requested a court order barring federal officials from interfering with his business.

During a press conference Tuesday, Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, thanked law enforcement for their swift action in arresting the three suspects.

The Dar Al-Farooq mosque primarily serves Somalis in the Minneapolis area. Minnesota has the largest Somali community in the United States, 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. It's unclear if the reward money will be paid.

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