Updated 01/03/2012 03:23 PM
Officials Condemn Queens Firebomb Attacks
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg met with religious leaders Tuesday morning in a strong show of support after Molotov cocktails hit an Islamic cultural center, a Hindu house of worship, and two other locations in Queens this weekend.
"Whether it was senseless violence or a hate crime will be determined down the road. But in either case we're just not going to tolerate it in this city. And fortunately the number of incidents like this are very low, but one is one too many," Bloomberg said.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said a person of interest is being questioned in connection with the case. The suspect has since confessed
Officials say they believe it all started after a man was tossed out of a deli on December 27 after being accused of trying to steal milk and a Frappuccino.
"He said words to the effect of 'we are going to get to get back at you now,' and four of the five attacks, these Starbucks Frappuccino bottles were used,” said Kelly.
The commissioner added that investigators believe the same person is responsible for all of the attacks.
“This man, whoever did this, he must be punished to fullest extent of the law. This is terrible. And to just throw bombs when you don’t even know who’s inside, that’s wrong. That’s wrong and it’s not right for Queens,” said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.
While damage to the Islamic center was minimal and no one was hurt, police say about 80 people were inside at the time.
The center also houses a school, which has school officials concerned.
"We were a little bit anxious and a bit nervous in the beginning because we weren't sure. But now after having seen all the support that we have been receiving it is very reassuring," said Al-Khoei Foundation UN Representative Meesam Razvi.
"Yeah it was a bit scary because we deal with kids but I hope everything is gonna be fine," said teacher Rehana Nassar.
“We are one family. If one gets hurt, all the family gets hurt. So, we have to be shoulder to shoulder,” added Imam Maan Al-Sahlani.