The latest: Arson confirmed in fire at California mosque

AP News
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Posted: Dec 12, 2015 12:39 AM

COACHELLA, Calif. (AP) — 9:30 p.m.

Authorities in Southern California say a fire at a mosque was intentionally set.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department said in a statement late Friday night that the blaze at the Islamic Center of Palm Springs was "an intentional act" and said it would use all available resources to investigate.

The statement says that state fire investigators and the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are now assisting in the investigation, and anyone with information to come forward. No details were provided on how the fire was set or whether the department has any suspects.

County fire officials said flames were reported just after noon Friday at the mosque. The fire was contained to the small building's front lobby, and no one was injured.

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3:10 p.m.

A Southern California mosque has been damaged in a fire reported to authorities as a possible arson.

The Riverside County Fire Department says flames were reported just after noon at the Islamic Center of Palm Springs. The fire was contained to the small building's front lobby, and no one was injured. Its cause is under investigation.

Reymundo Nour, the mosque's acting imam, said people there described hearing a "loud boom" and seeing flames. He said the mosque had been fire-bombed.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller says the agency will assist local law enforcement in determining the cause.

The mosque is about 75 miles from San Bernardino, where last week a couple that federal officials say was inspired by Islamist extremists killed 14 people.

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2:15 p.m.

A Southern California mosque has been damaged by fire, and its leader said Friday people there at the time believe it was intentionally set.

Flames were reported just after noon at the Islamic Center of Palm Springs.

According to the Riverside County Fire Department, they were contained to the building's front lobby and no one was injured.

The cause is under investigation.

Reymundo Nour, the mosque's acting imam, said people there described hearing a "loud boom" and seeing flames. He said the mosque had been "fire-bombed."

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller says the agency will assist local law enforcement in determining the cause.

The mosque is about 75 miles from San Bernardino, where last week a couple that federal officials say was inspired by Islamist extremists killed 14 people.