FBI: Bloomington Islamic Center Explosion Caused By “Improvised Explosive Device”

Mosque explosion investigation transferred from local police to FBI

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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The Bloomington Police Department, the FBI and ATF held a brief press conference late Saturday afternoon to provide an update into the investigation of the Dar al Farooq Islamic Center explosion, which occurred early Saturday morning. FBI Special Agent Rick Thornton confirmed an “improvised explosive device” was responsible for the explosion at the Islamic Center.

According to police, the incident occurred around 5:05 a.m. on Saturday morning. There were no injuries reported.

Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts said first responders observed some smoke and limited damage to a portion of the Dar al Farooq building.

Potts said the investigation has now been turned over to the FBI. Thornton said the primary focus of the investigation is to find out who is responsible for the explosion and why they did it. He said the FBI spent the day on Saturday collecting evidence around the Islamic community center and interviewed witnesses and neighbors.

Thornton said the FBI will continue to interview witnesses and will be sending items to various labs for further analysis.  The FBI will also be looking at videos and cell phone data to determine the cause of the explosion.

“Because this is a federal criminal investigation, there are certain limits on what we can talk about, that’s why I’m not going to characterize anymore details about the device itself,” Thornton said.

Thornton asked if anyone in the public has any information regarding this matter to call 1-800-CALLFBI.  Routine updates will be provided on the FBI and Bloomington Police Twitter accounts.

Mohamed Omar, spokesman for the Dar al Farooq Islamic Center told Alpha News on Saturday the congregation was praying Fajr, the first prayer of the day, when the explosion occurred and the police were contacted. Omar said one of the congregants witnessed a vehicle he described to authorities as a pickup truck driving away from the building.

According to the website MuslimPro.com, the start time of Fajr, the first prayer of the day, was at 4:26 a.m. on Saturday, August 5 in Bloomington. The start time of prayers varies by day and location. According to Omar, the incident occurred around 5:00 a.m. Saturday morning.  Chief Potts said Bloomington police and fire were called to Dar al Farooq at 5:05 a.m on a report of an explosion.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, along with Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL-CD5), Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith and Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL-60B) spoke at a press conference on Sunday morning.  Dayton called the explosion a “terrible, dastardly, cowardly, terrible act” and said it was an “act of terrorism” and “hate crime” despite the fact the ongoing investigation by the Bloomington Police, the FBI or ATF has not yet determined the incident to be a terrorist act or hate crime.

Dayton said he hoped that the perpetrator would be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“All I can do in this situation is come here and express my solidarity, my sympathy and my determination that we’ll join together – all of us who are here today, so many more than one criminal act, so many more people here gathered out in the street showing their support because in Minnesota we accept one another, we support one another, we respect one another, we live together, we work together, we succeed together and we are not going to let one bad person get in the way of all of that,” Dayton said.

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