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NY police question man in firebomb attacks
NY police question man in firebomb attacks on Islamic cultural center, other places
By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) ' New York detectives questioned a man Tuesday about the firebombing of an Islamic cultural center and three other sites, attacks they said might turn out to be hate crimes.

The man was tracked through a car with Virginia license plates that was believed to be at the scene of at least two of the attacks Sunday evening on a convenience store, two homes and the cultural center, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

The man was kicked out of the convenience store on Dec. 22 for trying to steal a glass Starbucks bottle and milk, authorities believe. Four of the five crude Molotov cocktails thrown at the various locations were made from glass Starbucks bottles, Kelly said.

"When they were pushing him out of the store, he said words to the effect that 'We're going to get even. We're going to get back at you,'" Kelly said.

No one was injured in the attacks, and it remains unclear whether they were linked.

In the first attack, a bottle was thrown at a counter at the convenience store where the man had been kicked out.

Ten minutes later, a possible firebomb smashed through the glass at a nearby home, setting it on fire and badly damaging it.

About half an hour later, the Imam Al-Khoei Foundation was hit with two bottles, one at the entrance where about 80 worshippers were dining.

Finally, two bottles were thrown at a house that police said was used for Hindu worship services.

Religious and city leaders met at the Islamic center Tuesday to urge tolerance.

"As I said before, we don't know what the motive was," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "But in New York City, as you know, we have no tolerance for violence, and certainly no tolerance for discrimination."


Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed to this report.

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