An armed man was fatally shot by authorities over the weekend after an hours-long standoff at a Texas synagogue, where he took four individuals, including a Jewish rabbi, hostage.
The suspect, later revealed by the FBI to be 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram, was a British citizen from Blackburn. Akram arrived at the Congregation Beth Israel, a Reform synagogue in Colleyville, during their morning service on Saturday, claiming that he had planted bombs in the temple.
After a 10-hour standoff with Texas authorities and the FBI, Akram was shot dead Saturday evening. According to The Christian Post, none of the hostages were harmed.
Akram, armed with a gun when he entered the house of worship, took Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and three others hostage and then demanded that law enforcement officials release Aafia Siddiqui. Siddiqui is a convicted terrorist serving an 86-year prison sentence at Carswell Air Force Base near Fort Worth, approximately 16 miles southwest of Colleyville.
In 2010, Siddiqui, also known as "Lady Al Qaeda," was convicted of assault and the attempted murder of an American soldier.
"This is a terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted, and is being investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force," the FBI said in a statement on Sunday. "Preventing acts of terrorism and violence is the number one priority of the FBI. Due to the continuing investigation, we are unable to provide more details at this time."
President Joe Biden, who was briefed on the situation, labeled the incident "an act of terror."
According to ABC News, British police have arrested two teenagers as part of an ongoing investigation into Saturday's incident. According to a statement from the Greater Manchester Police, the teens were taken into custody in southern Manchester on Sunday evening and "remain in custody for questioning."
Multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News that Akram took a flight from London to New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport on December 29. The suspect resided in homeless shelters at several points and reportedly portrayed himself as a homeless man in order to gain access to Beth Israel during its Shabbat services.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Brandon Bell/Staff
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.