Hostage Situation In Texas: The gunman identified himself as Muhammad Siddiqui, the brother of Pakistani Al-Qaeda-affiliated Aafia Siddiqui, who is serving an 86-year jail sentence for terrorism charges.
During a Shabbat service at the reform Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, a rabbi and three others were kidnapped.
According to officials, one hostage has been released, leaving three hostages.
The gunman identified himself as Muhammad Siddiqui, the brother of Pakistani Al-Qaeda-affiliated Aafia Siddiqui, who is serving an 86-year jail sentence for several offences, including attempting to assassinate US Army personnel and FBI agents, according to multiple news outlets.
Siddiqui’s lawyers, on the other hand, have denied the claims of the gunman, and Houston’s chapter of CAIR has tweeted in support of the lawyers.
The gunman demanded to meet with the Pakistani Al-Qaeda-affiliated Aafia Siddiqui in order to negotiate with the FBI and to have her released from a federal medical facility where she had been detained for several days.
According to CNN, the gunman spoke to a rabbi in New York earlier in the day and informed him he was doing this because Aafia had been framed.
He also threatened that bombs has been planted at the scene, but law enforcement was unable to establish this.
At 11:30 a.m. local time, Colleyville Police issued a public alert about the Hostage Situation In Texas. Two hours later, another tweet confirmed that the hostage crisis was still ongoing.
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The area surrounding the synagogue was evacuated immediately, despite local news reports that there appeared to be no threat to the general public.
There will be no news conference, according to law enforcement, and no injuries have been reported.
The incident was first live-streamed from inside the synagogue for the service so that there would be no overcrowding and the congregation would be safe from COVID-19.
The gunman was overheard saying; “If anyone tries to enter this building, I’m telling you… everyone will die.”
Before it was turned off, the stream continued for several minutes, with the gunman yelling and raving.
The reason why the live stream why was cut off remains unknown.
According to Michael Masters, CEO of the Secure Community Network, the network’s intelligence analysts picked up on the issue shortly after it began based on the live feed and social media comments.
Barry Klompus, 63, who has been a member of the congregation since its inception in 1999, said he was alerted to the problem by another member and immediately switched to the live feed until it was cut off.
“It was horrible listening and watching, and it’s that much more horrible not knowing,” Klompus revealed in a phone interview.
Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who is known to dedicate his heart and soul to the congregation, is one of the hostages.
A few months ago, according to reports, the Beth Israel congregation received security training.
Right now the Police and FBI agents gathered at a nearby school to practice in tactical gear. A SWAT team from the FBI was on the scene, and police asked the public to remain indoors.
According to a White House official, the situation is being closely monitored, and President Joe Biden and senior members of the national security teams are receiving regular reports.
“The Texas Department of Public Safety is on the scene of the difficult hostage situation in Texas,” Governor Greg Abbott tweeted.
With 25 member families and connection with the Union of Reform Judaism, the Beth Israel congregation was officially founded on July 18, 1999.
Sue Feingold, the religious school’s director, held services at a rented church facility on Industrial Blvd. in Colleyville, with 75 children enrolled.
A group of families who had relocated from different parts of the country founded the church.