UK arrests two in connection with Texas synagogue hostage-taking

by Ryan Meilstrup

Two men have been arrested in Manchester, England in connection with an investigation into last Saturday’s hostage-taking at a Texas synagogue by a man reported being of British nationality.

Two teenagers were previously arrested in connection with the Texas synagogue incident, but both were subsequently released.

At this point, the names of the two suspects and what role they might have played in the synagogue hostage crisis have not been reported.

The alleged perpetrator, 44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram allegedly interrupted services at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, and took four people hostages for about 10 hours.

Late Saturday night, the hostages were freed and the suspect was shot dead by a SWAT team flown in from Quantico, Virginia after two of the hostages ran out with the suspect in pursuit.

The Associated Press reported that the suspect had demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist imprisoned on charges of trying to kill American service members in Afghanistan.

Siddiqui is more popularly referred to as “Ms. Al-Qaeda.”

Siddiqui is serving an 86-year prison sentence after being convicted in 2010 on charges that she attempted to shoot and kill U.S. military officers while in detention in Afghanistan in 2008.

As attacks against Jews continue to rise across the country, many synagogue congregations have felt compelled to ensure their own safety by taking safety courses to prepare for horrific attacks like the one that took place at the Texas synagogue.

The Colleyville synagogue’s rabbi, Cytron-Walker said that he and the other hostages are alive today because of security courses they had previously taken to prepare for such an attack.

“Without the instruction we received, we would not have been prepared to act and flee when the situation presented itself,” he added. “I encourage all Jewish congregations, religious groups, schools, and others to participate in active-shooter and security courses.”

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