3 men charged in Minnesota mosque bombing

Three men arrested in Illinois are suspected in last year's bombing of a Minnesota mosque

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.

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.

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

All four men are from Clarence, 35 miles (56 km) north of Champaign-Urbana.

The men allegedly traveled some 500 miles (805 kilometers) from a rural farming community in IL to carry out the August 5 attack, which caused a damaging fire at the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. 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.

"A search warrant was also executed at a store/office owned by Hari, located at 100 S. Main Road in Clarence (Illinois.)" Even as officials in Illinois sorted through charges against the quartet, federal authorities in Bloomington, Minnesota, were announcing the mosque-related developments late Tuesday afternoon. McWhorter reportedly told the authorities that Hari had promised his accomplices money for taking part in the bombing. The pipe bomb exploded, causing a fire that was extinguished by sprinklers, according to an affidavit.

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. In January, a second informant told authorities that the three men had carried out the mosque bombing and the failed clinic bombing, according to a complaint.

The affidavit said Mr. Morris later complained to a confidential law enforcement source that the device had not gone off and that he had no idea why.

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

The Islamic Center primarily serves Somalis in the Minneapolis area and houses a mosque and religious school for children.

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. 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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