FBI takes over probe of bombing at Minnesota mosque

Aug 5 (Reuters) - The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Saturday took over the investigation of an early-morning bombing of a mosque outside Minneapolis that caused no injuries.

Anti-Muslim incidents have risen sharply in the United States over the past year, according to a review by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the Minneapolis area bomber.

Police in Bloomington, Minnesota, were called at 5:05 a.m. CDT about an explosion at the Dar Al Farooq mosque, after a bomb was thrown through the window of the imam's office while worshipers were gathered for morning prayers.

Bombing at Minnesota mosque
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Bombing at Minnesota mosque
PHOTOS: Blast investigated at Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington. https://t.co/EYJkOj9Bz6 https://t.co/9m1StFr80y
Feds investigate explosion that shook Minnesota mosque https://t.co/XBKVXiSbVx https://t.co/0GSpAMgbXQ
NEW: FBI takes lead in investigation of blast at Bloomington, MN mosque; damage but no injuries reported.… https://t.co/NwSYEt3sFg
Explosion starts fire inside Minnesota mosque just before prayer https://t.co/qlbPK1JyUJ https://t.co/4T5U0c4b2M
Someone threw a bomb through a mosque window in Minnesota https://t.co/u00V8juTDD
Bomb explodes during morning prayers at Minnesota mosque; FBI's Terrorism Task Force investigating… https://t.co/sNk3j2AmBK
Minnesota mosque is 'FIREBOMBED during first prayers of the day https://t.co/ocKrlTORgz
DEVELOPING: Dar Al Farooq mosque in Bloomington says someone threw a small bomb through imam's office window at daw… https://t.co/fpHYGA14N9
On scene @ 8201 Park Av after a report of an explosion. No injuries. Ongoing investigation w/ FBI &ATF. Any info contact BPD 952-563-4900
Update on police incident at 8201 Park: at 5:05 am police were called to Dar Al Farooq Community Center on a report… https://t.co/MDTAx49dIr
Religious and government leaders gather at a press conference to show support for Muslim community:… https://t.co/xOULBfTZBU
Muslim American Society of Minnesota offering $10K reward for information about explosion at Dar Al-Farooq this AM:… https://t.co/8iB01mPhYz
Police, federal authorities investigating early morning explosion at Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington. R… https://t.co/cqSGLH50J5

Mohamed Omar, the mosque's executive director, told reporters in Bloomington that a member of the congregation saw a pickup truck speeding away from the building's parking lot just after the blast.

"Preliminary investigation indicates the explosion was caused by a destructive device in violation of federal law," the FBI's Minneapolis division said on Twitter.

The Bloomington Police Department said on Twitter that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had also joined the probe.

"When officers and fire personnel arrived, what they found there was some smoke, some damage to the building, but no one was injured," Police Chief Jeff Potts said at a news conference broadcast by local media.

Several other area religious leaders joined members of the mosque on Saturday to express support.

"It's a tragedy that we have to gather here today," Curtiss DeYoung, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Churches, told reporters shortly after Omar spoke. "We are here showing solidarity and support for Muslims, not only in this center but Muslims across our state and our country that are under these kind of attacks."

A May analysis by the Council on American-Islamic Relations found 2,213 anti-Muslim bias incidents in the United States last year, up 57 percent from 2015.

The council urged U.S. mosques to increase their security following the Bloomington incident.

(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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