"They were fairly powerful devices," said Stanley J. Borgia, who heads the FBI's Cincinnati office. "In my opinion, if somebody was standing nearby, they could have been maimed or killed."
No one was injured in the blasts.
The bombs exploded around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday (Dec. 20) in a quiet, upscale residential neighborhood near the University of Cincinnati. Police said people nearly a half-mile away reported hearing the blasts.
Borgia said the FBI was not aware of any recent threats to mosques in Ohio. Five Christian churches are on the street near the Islamic center, and none had a similar incident.
The Islamic Association of Cincinnati, which finished an evening prayer service about two hours earlier, is in a neighborhood called Clifton, a community filled with stately homes and old mansions. The center was closed when the bombs went off.
"It was loud enough to wake people up," police Chief Thomas Streicher said Wednesday at a news conference at the Islamic center.
Doors to the adjoining buildings, a mosque and an annex where children take religious classes, were destroyed.
About 25,000 Muslims live in Greater Cincinnati. The Islamic center is a place of worship for about 400 Muslim families, many of them professors, physicians and students who are affiliated with the university.
The congregation is predominantly Sunni, but it includes other branches of Islam.