Teens Arrested in UK in Connection With Texas Synagogue Standoff

But their alleged link to hostage situation is not clear
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2022 1:28 AM CST
Teens Arrested in London in Connection With Texas Synagogue Standoff
Colleyville police secure the area around Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 in Colleyville, Texas.   (Jessika Harkay/Star-Telegram via AP)

The man who held four people hostage at a Texas synagogue for 10 hours Saturday has been identified as a 44-year-old British national. Malik Faisal Akram arrived in the US, via New York, on a tourist visa about two weeks before the standoff, the BBC reports. He was fatally shot after all the hostages had been released unharmed and an FBI SWAT team entered the building, though it's not yet clear who fired the shot, the AP reports. Akram had demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist with suspected ties to al-Qaeda serving 86 years in a US prison after being convicted of trying to kill US military officers in Afghanistan, but while he was heard referring to her as his "sister," authorities say the two are not actually related.

It's not clear whether Akram was on any terrorism watch lists, but his brother released a statement apologizing for Akram's actions and claiming he suffered from "mental health issues." Authorities initially said there was no indication anyone else was involved in the situation, but late Sunday, police in Manchester, England, said counterterrorism officers had arrested two teens in connection with the Texas standoff. Their alleged link to the hostage situation is not yet clear, nor is it clear whether they face charges. The rabbi who was held hostage says Akram became "increasingly belligerent and threatening" in the last hour of the standoff, and says security training his congregation has received in the past proved invaluable, the Guardian reports. Without it, "we would not have been prepared to act and flee when the situation presented itself." (More Texas stories.)

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