According to a statement by the US attorney's office in Springfield, on Tuesday morning, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested four rural east central IL men on charges of possession of a machine gun. The Illinois U.S. Attorney's Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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.
Law enforcement also had received information in December from confidential sources who said Hari possessed guns and bomb-making materials, said the court filing. Charges state Hari sometimes resides with his parents because his home has no electricity or running water. One of the arrestees, Michael McWhorter, told authorities that the men had been involved in other violent crimes in central IL and Indiana. The suspect told investigators he and the others did not intend to kill anyone in the mosque but wanted "to scare them (Muslims) out of the country".
McWhorter originally denied having any knowledge of the bombing, but according to the complaint, he later admitted that each person had a role in the mosque bombing with Hari as the driver, Morris smashing the window, and McWhorter throwing the bomb.
Executive director Jaylani Hussein of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says the arrests are "definitely a relief".
It is unclear why the suspects traveled more than 600 miles from their hometown of Clarence, Illinois, to allegedly carry out the attack against the mosque in Minnesota. "Why this one out of the 75 mosques in Minnesota?" said Asad Zaman, an imam, and Muslim Society of Minnesota executive director. McWhorter also provided details of the bomb plots, authorities said. "We believe it is possible one of our neighbors in our communities may have put the target on the mosque forcing the individuals who live in IL to decide to attack a mosque in Minnesota".
At the news conference, Chief Potts said that the authorities hoped the arrests would represent "a significant portion of the healing process for Dar Al Farooq".
The Dar al-Farooq mosque mainly serves Somalis in the Minneapolis area.
According to the U.S. attorney's office in Springfield, Michael B. Hari, Joe Morris, and Michael McWhorter are suspected of carrying out the Bloomington attack, as well as attempting to bomb the Women's Health Practice abortion clinic in Champaign, Illinois, in November.