Threatening package found at Cincinnati-area Islamic center

Updated: Jun. 27, 2017 at 3:11 PM EDT
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WEST CHESTER, OH (FOX19) - A suspicious package led hazmat crews, federal agents and the Department of Homeland Security to the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati Tuesday afternoon.

White powder and a written threat were found in a package mailed to the Plantation Drive building, according to township spokesperson Barb Wilson.

The administrative staff at the Islamic Center opened the suspicious letter around 11:30 a.m.

Officials did not reveal the nature of the threatening message.

Investigators tested the powder, but the results returned "inconclusive." A second test determined the powder was not hazardous, but authorities still aren't sure what the substance contains.

The center was hosting a youth basketball camp when West Chester Township Fire Department and hazmat crews responded to the center.

Dr. Inayat Malik, a board member of the Islamic Center, says several parents were panicked because nearly a dozen children were inside.

"It's unnerving especially when we have kids in here. We had a basketball camp going on there were very young children in there and it's very disturbing when something like this happens. We're also very thankful to God that this turned out to be a false alarm," said Dr. Malik.

The children were isolated to a separate area of the building and were cleared to reunite with their parents around 2:30 p.m.

The staff member who opened the package will be treated at the hospital, but they showed no initial signs of illness, fire officials said.

Police are investigating the threatening note to determine where it originated.

"It was obviously dealing with paper products and there's a chance to be able to pull investigate leads off that, which is finger prints and things of that nature," said Jamie Hensley, a Cpt. with the West Chester Police Dept.

Police are still working to find the person who sent the note. In the meantime, the leaders at the Islamic Center tell us they are sad and hurt that someone would do this and they are hoping that police find who is responsible.

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