Restaurant fire in Wichita considered possible hate crime

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WICHITA — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating a fire at a Wichita restaurant run by a Middle Eastern family.

The Petra Mediterranean Restaurant was destroyed Wednesday and its owners say the fire might have been a hate crime. The words “Go back” were painted on a storage unit behind the restaurant.

The Wichita Eagle reports the FBI, which investigates hate crimes, has been notified. The ATF says it is trying to determine if the FBI should be more involved in the investigation.

The restaurant’s owners, Ranya Taha and Bashar Mahanweh, say they are comforted by how the Wichita community has rallied around them. They say they have lived in Wichita for years and always found the community to be loving and supportive.

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