British Authorities Apprehend Two In Connection To Texas Hostage Situation

Bethany Blankley (The Center Square).

British police arrested two suspects in connection with the hostage situation that ended at Congregation Beth Israel Colleyville Texas. It was less than 24 hours later.

Greater Manchester Police Department announcedTwo teenagers were detained by the Counter Terrorism Policing North West team, possibly in connection to this incident. The two teenagers were taken into custody and are currently being interrogated. Any additional information about them and their potential connection hasn’t yet been released.

According to the FBI, Malik Faisal Akram (44 years old) was the hostage-taker. He is a British Muslim citizen.

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The FBI’s North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force is continuing to investigate the incident, saying it “will continue to follow investigative leads.”

The Colleyville Police Department’s SWAT team, along with officials from Texas Department of Public Safety (FBI) and Texas Department of Public Safety responded initially at 10.40 AM to an emergency call at the synagogue. Police arrived and immediately began to evacuate the synagogue.

Akram had apparently entered the sanctuary during the live streaming of the service via Facebook. The recording shows Akram speaking in broken English to the police, using profanities, and discussing Islam. Shortly before 2:20 p.m. CST, the live broadcast was removed.

Around 5 p.m., one hostage was unharmed and had been freed. Rabbi Charlie Cytron Walker, and two more hostages, remained inside.

Although communication between Akram and FBI continued, Cytron Walker later revealed the truth. CBS Morning News that at the time, it appeared that Akram “wasn’t getting what he wanted. It didn’t look good. It didn’t sound good.”

When Akram “wasn’t in a good position,” Cytron-Walker said he’d prepared his congregants to run on his signal. At that moment, Cytron-Walker hurled a chair at Akram, and his men ran to a nearby door. He stated,

Next, Akram stepped out the door with a gun in hand and was then shot by police. Video captured the end of this dramatic confrontation. WFAA News.

The Blackburn Muslim Community in Britain “confirmed that Faisal Akram, a member of the community, was the gunman who took hostages,” The Times of Israel reported, which also published screen shots of the group’s Facebook posts.

In one now deleted Facebook post, the group reportedly wrote, “Faisal Akram has sadly departed from this temporary world and returned to his Creator… May the Almighty forgive all his sins and bless him with the highest ranks of Paradise. May Allah give strength and patience to his loved ones in dealing with their loss.”

A man who identified himself as Akram’s brother, Gulbar Akram, reportedly commented on the post, according to the Times. “We as a family do not condone any of his actions and would like to sincerely apologize wholeheartedly to all the victims involved in the unfortunate incident,” he reportedly wrote, adding that his brother “was suffering from mental health issues.”

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Gulbar Akram also reportedly wrote that the hostages weren’t rescued, but freed by his brother, stating: “Don’t believe the bull#### in the media, they were released from the fire exit and not rescued. A few minutes later a firefight has taken place and he was shot and killed.”

The region’s largest Islamic group, the Islamic Association of North Texas, condemned the hostage situation. It condemned “in the strongest possible terms, the horrendous criminal act at the Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas,” it said. “We unequivocally denounce the hostage-taking in a holy place of worship as criminal, inhumane, and unislamic. We pray for all hostages’ safety and wish their release. We applaud law enforcement’s heroic acts and support the congregation and synagogue leaders as well.  

“The Islamic Association of North Texas cherishes our interfaith relationship with our Jewish and Christian partners, and we will continue to work to build bridges of understanding, compassion, and love,” it added.

KHOU-11 News reported that multiple sources said Akram was demanding to speak to Aafia Siddiqui, the first female terrorism defendant arrested after 9/11. Later, she was convicted of attempted murder and assault on U.S. employees and officers in Afghanistan.

Law enforcement hasn’t yet confirmed Akram’s motive, or explained why he was in the U.S. or for how long. They also haven’t yet confirmed or denied any possible connection between Akram and Siddiqui.

The FBI reported that Akram’s actions didn’t appear to be targeted toward the Jewish community even though they occurred at a synagogue and Jews were held hostage.

The FBI’s asking anyone with information about the incident to Send tips online or by calling its tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

The Center Square permission granted this syndicated version.