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USA

Minnesota mosque bombing 'an act of terrorism'

The governor of Minnesota has announced that the bombing of a mosque in Bloomington qualified as "an act of terrorism." The investigation into the case continues.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has called the bombing of a mosque outside Minneapolis on the weekend "an act of terrorism" after a visit to the scene of the crime.

"A criminal act of terrorism against the imam who, thank the good lord, was not present in his office, as it would appear that this person intended. And the destruction done to this sacred site is just unthinkable, unforgivable and I hope and pray that the perpetrator will be caught and prosecuted with full extent of the law," Dayton said.

Police in Bloomington, Minnesota, were called to the Dar Al-Farooq mosque on Saturday at 5 a.m. local time after an explosion was reported there. A bomb had been thrown through the window of the imam's office while worshipers were gathered for morning prayers. No one was injured.

Debris is scattered around a room inside the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center (picture-alliance/AP Photo/C. Pedroza)

The explosion shattered windows and caused damage to the floor and ceiling of the imam's office

Community grateful for support

Mohamed Omar, the executive director of the mosque, told The Associated Press the building didn't have outside security cameras to record the event, as his community couldn't afford them. He added there weren't any threats ahead of the attack or any claims of responsibility afterward.

Omar also said his community was grateful for the support it had received since the incident, including from other religious groups, with visitors continuing to drop off flowers and donations.

The Dar Al-Farooq congregation in Bloomington is primarily made up of Somali immigrants.

Investigation continues

FBI Special Agent in Charge Rick Thornton said it will take time to determine who carried out the attack, adding that due to the ongoing investigation he couldn't release further details.

"I want to assure the community that this investigation is our top priority and we continue to work to determine who carried out this crime and why," he said.

Officials have meanwhile confirmed that witnesses had seen someone throw an object from a truck or van shortly before the blast and that the vehicle sped away afterward.

ss/cmk (AP, Reuters)

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