FBI Identifies Texas Synagogue Hostage-Taker As British Citizen
The FBI has identified the man who held four people hostage at a Texas synagogue as British citizen Malik Faisal Akram.
Akram, 44, was killed by an FBI hostage rescue team after the hostages were released at around 9pm local time on Saturday, January 15.
The incident occurred at the Beth Israel Congregation in Colleyville, Texas.
As per CNN, crime scene investigators recovered a firearm from the scene, which was believed to have belonged to Akram.
Twenty minutes after a bang and gunfire was heard, Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted, ‘Prayers answered. All hostages are out alive and safe.’
The incident lasted nearly 11 hours, with Akram entering the synagogue around 11am as it live-streamed its Saturday service.
Four people were taken hostage, including Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker. One man was released unharmed at around 5pm.
Cytron-Walker spoke to CNN about the ‘traumatic experience’ and said that the gunman was ‘increasingly belligerent and threatening’ throughout the crisis.
He went on to explain how his participation in an active shooter and security course helped him during the situation:
Without the instruction we received, we would not have been prepared to act and flee when the situation presented itself. I encourage all Jewish congregations, religious groups, schools, and others to participate in active-shooter and security courses.
On Sunday, President Joe Biden also spoke about the situation, saying there wasn’t ‘sufficient information’ to explain why Akram had targeted the synagogue.
I don’t – we don’t have – I don’t think there is sufficient information to know about why he targeted that synagogue, why he insisted on the release of someone who’s been in prison for over 10 years, why he was engaged, why he was using an anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli comments.
Akram reportedly arrived in the US around five weeks ago, in December. He was not on a US government watchlist and would have cleared vetting prior to his arrival.
British intelligence officials have also said that their preliminary review of databases shows no information about Akram, althought the intelligence services are continuing to review their databases.
The UK Counter Terrorism Police for Greater Manchester also announced on Sunday that two teenagers were being detained in connection with the incident, and are currently in custody for questioning.
The investigation is currently ongoing.
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