Sunday, May 28, 2023

Texas rabbi says he survived 2 hostage synagogue standoffs. Nation World News

COLLEYVILLE, Texas ( Associated Press) – The rabbi of a Texas synagogue where a gunman was taken hostage during livestream services said Monday he blamed previous security training for two others after an hour-long standoff. He threw a chair at his prisoner before escaping along. To get himself and his comrades out safely.

Rabbi Charlie Citron-Walker told “CBS Mornings” That he let the gunman inside a suburban Fort Worth synagogue on Saturday because he needed shelter. He said the man was not threatening or suspicious at first. But later, while he was praying, he heard a gun click.

Another person taken hostage is Jeffrey R. Cohen described the incident on Facebook on Monday.

“First of all, we escaped. We weren’t released or freed,” said Cohen, who was one of four people in the synagogue for services to several other congregations, Beth Israel. Members were looking online.

Cohen said the men worked to keep the gunman busy. He talked to the gunman, and he lectured him. At one point as the situation developed, Cohen said that the gunman told him to get down on his knees. Cohen remembered getting up in his chair and slowly nodding his head and saying “no.” As the gunman proceeded to sit back, Cohen said Citron-Walker shouted to run.

“The exit wasn’t very far,” Citroen-Walker said. “I told them to leave. I threw a chair at the gunman, and I headed for the door. And the three of us managed to get out without firing a single shot.

Authorities have identified the hostage taker as 44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram, who was killed after three previous hostages fled from the synagogue in Collyville on Saturday night around 9 p.m. The first mortgage was released shortly after 5 p.m.

The FBI issued a statement Sunday night calling the test a “terrorism case that targeted the Jewish community” and said the Joint Terrorism Task Force was investigating. The agency noted that Akram had repeatedly spoken during conversations about a prisoner serving a sentence of 86 years in the US. After the statement Saturday, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Dallas field office said the hostage taker was focused on one issue. “Not belonging exclusively to the Jewish community.”

Akram can be heard boasting on the services’ Facebook livestream and demanding the release of Pakistani neuroscientist Afia Siddiqui. Suspected of having links to al-Qaeda, which was convicted of trying to kill US military officers in Afghanistan.

“In the last hour of the standoff, he was not getting what he wanted. not like it. not like it. We were scared,” Citroen-Walker told “CBS Mornings.”

More on the hostage standoff

At a service held Monday evening at a nearby Methodist church, Citron-Walker said the amount of “best wishes and kindness and compassion” was overwhelming from Collieville – a town of about 26,000 people, 15 miles (23) miles northeast of the fort. kilometer) Worth – and the surrounding community.

“Thank you for all the compassion from the bottom of my heart,” said Citroen-Walker.

“While very few of us are doing fine right now, we will get through this,” he said.

video of deadlock The WFAA from a Dallas TV station showed people running out of a synagogue door, and then a man holding a gun opened the same door a few seconds later and closed it. Moments later, several shots and then an explosion could be heard.

Officials declined to say who shot Akram and said it was being investigated.

The investigation spread to England, where police in Manchester announced late Sunday that two juveniles were in custody in connection with the standoff. Greater Manchester Police tweeted that counter-terrorism officers had made the arrests, but did not say whether the pair had been charged.

President Joe Biden called the incident an act of terror. Speaking to reporters in Philadelphia on Sunday, Biden said Akram had allegedly bought a weapon on the streets.

Federal investigators believe Akram purchased the handgun used in the private sale to be used in hostage-taking, according to a person familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the investigation continues. A law enforcement official said Akram had arrived in the US at New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport about two weeks ago.

Akram arrived in the US on a tourist visa from Great Britain, according to a US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the information was not intended to be made public. London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement that its counter-terrorism police were contacting US officials about the incident.

Britain’s Home Secretary Priti Patel told the House of Commons on Monday she spoke to her US counterpart Alejandro Meyerkas and offered “full support” of the police and security services in Britain in the investigation.

For two weeks before Akram was taken hostage in the synagogue, he had been living in Dallas-area homeless shelters.

Wayne Walker, CEO and pastor of Our Calling, which provides services to the homeless, said Akram stayed at his downtown Dallas facility on January 2, and that his review of the camera footage revealed that he had been abandoned by someone who whom he knew well. Walker said he contacted the FBI and gave them access to his photos and videos.

“She was dropped by a guy who actually had some conversation with her and actually brought her to our facility, had a few more conversations with her,” Walker said. “And then before he left, they hugged each other for a long time as if they were long-lost friends before patting each other on the back.”

“So he was dumped by someone who looked like he had a relationship with him,” he told the Associated Press.

Akram stayed three nights at Union Gospel Mission Dallas from January 6 to January 13, Bruce Butler, CEO of the homeless shelter, told CNN. According to his records, Akram had left the synagogue for the last time on January 13, two days before taking hostages.

According to the law enforcement official, Akram used his phone during the conversation to communicate with people other than law enforcement, who was not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation by name and on condition of anonymity. Had talked.

The FBI did not respond to a request for comment on Monday about Akram’s stay in homeless shelters. The agency said there was no initial indication that anyone else was involved.

It was not clear why Akram chose the synagogue, although the prison where Siddiqui is serving is in Fort Worth.

A lawyer in Texas representing Siddiqui said on Monday that Siddiqui had nothing to do with Akram.

Attorney Marva Albiel said, “She said from the very beginning that when she was sentenced that she did not want any violence in her name and that she does not condone violence of any kind.”

Akram, who was called Faisal by his family, hailed from Blackburn, an industrial town in northwestern England. His family said he was suffering from “mental health issues.”

His brother Gulbar Akram wrote, “We would also like to add that any attack on any human being, whether he is a Jew, Christian or Muslim, etc. is wrong and should always be condemned.”


Stangl reported from Dallas and Tucker reported from Washington, DC. Associated Press writers Paul J. Weber and Austin also had Acacia Coronado; Michael Balsamo in Washington; Colleen Long in Philadelphia; Elliot Spaghett in San Diego; Jennifer McDermott in Providence, Rhode Island; Michael R. in New York. Sisak; Holly Meyer in Nashville, Tenn.; Isaac Sharf in Jerusalem; and Danica Kirka in London.


Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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