US officials on Sunday identified a 44-year-old British national as the man who held four people hostage in a Texas synagogue for 10 hours before law enforcement commandos stormed the building on Saturday night and ended the standoff. had made
Hostages are freed and Malik Faisal Akram is shot dead by an FBI strategic weapons team at the Beth Israel Congregation near Fort Worth, Texas.
US President Joe Biden praised the “courageous act” of law enforcement agents and said the antisemitism the attack represented would not be tolerated.
“We will learn more about the hostage taker’s motives in the coming days,” Biden said. “But let me make it clear to anyone who intends to spread hatred – we will stand against the rise of anti-Semitism and extremism in this country.”
The FBI said in a statement that there was no indication that anyone else was involved in the attack, but did not specify a possible motive.
Akram was heard on a Facebook livestream shouting about religious services and demanding the release of a Pakistani neuroscientist who was convicted of trying to kill US Army officers in Afghanistan.
Videos from Dallas TV station WFAA showed people running out of a synagogue door, and then a man holding a gun opened and closed the same door seconds later. Moments later, several rounds of gunshots were heard, followed by an explosion.
During a visit to a food pantry in Philadelphia on Sunday morning, Biden told reporters, “Reassurance, we are focused.” He said Attorney General Merrick Garland is “focusing and making sure we deal with these kinds of acts.”
The Associated Press reported that investigators told her that Akram sought the release of Pakistani neuroscientist Afiya Siddiqui, suspected of having ties to al-Qaeda and who is in a federal prison in Texas. According to officials, Akram also said that he wanted to be able to talk to her.
Siddiqui earned advanced degrees from Brandeis University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before being sentenced in 2010 to 86 years in prison for assaulting and shooting US military officers after being detained in Afghanistan two years earlier. Was.
The sentence sparked outrage in Pakistan from political leaders and their supporters, who saw him as a victim by the US criminal justice system.
During the incident, his lawyer, Marva Albilee, issued a statement condemning the hostage-taking.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Twitter that he was closely monitoring the situation.
“This incident is a strong reminder that anti-Semitism is still alive and we must continue to fight it around the world,” he wrote. Bennett said he was “relieved and grateful” that the hostages were rescued.
Ayaz Gul in Islamabad contributed to this report. Some of the content came from The Associated Press.