Our investigation will have global reach.FBI special agent Matthew DeSarno on a hostage situation at a Texas synagogue.
- Four adults, including the synagogue’s rabbi, were held hostage for hours. The hostages eventually made it out safely.
- Where: Congregation Beth Israel, a synagogue in Colleyville – about 15 miles outside of Fort Worth.
- When: Late morning of Saturday, January 15, amid Sabbath services which were being livestreamed.
- The motive: The FBI has not confirmed the motive. However, on the synagogue’s livestream, the suspect (identified Sunday by the FBI as British citizen Malik Faisal Akram, 44) was demanding the release of a female Pakistani neuroscientist – who is serving a sentence of 86 years in a federal prison in Fort Worth for shooting at FBI agents and U.S. soldiers. Dubbed “Lady al Qaeda,” she had been a wanted terrorist by U.S. officials since 2008.
- One hostage was released after about six hours; an FBI Hostage Rescue Team freed the other three hostages after approx. 10 hours of negotiations. After the hostages were released, the suspect was killed by the FBI team (CNN).
- In England, Greater Manchester counter-terrorism police arrested two teenagers for questioning related to the incident.
- Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker said: “I am thankful and filled with appreciation for all of the vigils and prayers and love and support, all of the law enforcement and first responders who cared for us …”
Why It Matters: President Biden called the hostage situation “an act of terror.” There are many unknowns: Why did the hostage-taker do this now? Why did he target this particular synagogue? Was he acting alone?
by Jenna Lee,