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FBI offers reward for information in Tracy mosque attack

FBI offers reward for information in Tracy mosque attack
The FBI released this photograph of an extinguished Molotov cocktail that was thrown at the Tracy Islamic Center on Dec. 26. The arson attempt is being investigated as a possible hate crime. (FBI)

The FBI is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrests of those responsible for throwing a Molotov cocktail at a San Joaquin County mosque last month.

Authorities said the president of the Tracy Islamic Center on West Larch Road in Tracy found the remains of an explosive device outside the door of the mosque on the morning of Dec. 26. Photographs released by the FBI show black burn marks on the sidewalk, door and exterior wall of the building.

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The explosive device was thrown over a chain link fence, "possibly in an attempt to set fire to the mosque," the FBI said in a statement. The Islamic center sustained about $1,000 in damage in the attempted arson, which authorities are calling a possible hate crime.

Gina Swankie, a spokeswoman for the FBI, said the explosive device was made out of a glass bottle and that "very thankfully there were no injuries" as a result of the incident.

"If the community has any information they are willing to provide about who may have participated in this crime, certainly we want to know," Swankie said. It is unclear, she said, whether one person or multiple people were involved.

Swankie said the incident is being jointly investigated by the FBI, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office.

The Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has called on authorities to investigate the incident as a hate crime.

"The recent spike in hate incidents targeting mosques nationwide is unprecedented and should be of concern to all Americans," Basim Elkarra, executive director of CAIR Sacramento Valley.

The Tracy incident is one of several targeting mosques since the San Bernardino shootings on Dec. 2 that left 14 people dead at a holiday gathering at the Inland Regional Center.

Follow @haileybranson on Twitter

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