Yumi Kimura from Yokohama, JAPAN, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Armed Stand Off at Texas Synagogue

By Dave Pulver

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and three other people were held hostage in a Jewish Synagogue by a gunman throughout the day Saturday.  Approximately 200 law enforcement officers, including the FBI, worked the incident at Beth Israel Synagogue located in Colleyville, Texas.

44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram entered the Synagogue armed, demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist.  Siddiqui, who is suspected of having ties to al-Qaida, was convicted of trying to kill U.S. Army officers in Afghanistan and is currently serving an 86-year sentence in a Fort Worth Texas Federal Prison.  The White House and the FBI were quickly notified of the incident, given the connection to Siddiqui.

U.S. Officials informed the United Kingdom of the situation early in the day.  Initial reports were that Malik Faisal Akram was acting alone.  However, Manchester England Police have since arrested two youths suspected of being connected with the hostage-taker.

The first hostage was released shortly after 5 PM, and the last three hostages escaped on their own around 9 PM.  Law enforcement then entered the Synagogue, after which it was announced that the suspect was deceased.

Akram arrived in the U.S. at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York about two weeks ago on a tourist visa.

AP News contributed to this article.

*Dave Pulver is a retired communications engineer of 35 years.  His interests include aviation, motorcycling, civics, history, and politics.

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