A hostage-taker who was shot dead after a stand-off at a synagogue in Texas was British, the Government has confirmed, and US officials will be liaising with the Metropolitan Police during the investigation.
Four hostages who were taken by the man who stormed the building ‘armed with backpacks of explosives’ were released after the man was shot dead.
He held the hostages, including Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, trapped inside the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, approximately 27 miles from Dallas, for about 10 hours before the hostages were reported free and safe.
Dramatic footage revealed the moment two hostages ran out of the temple. The suspect can be seen popping out of the door as he chases after them with a gun, but he quickly retreats back inside, closing the door after spotting the nearby SWAT team.
Dozens of agents then breach the synagogue as gunshots can be heard.
A spokesman for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said on Sunday: ‘We are aware of the death of a British man in Texas and are in contact with the local authorities.’
FBI special agent Matt Desarno said the agency’s Hostage Rescue Team, who were flown in from Quantico in Virginia, entered the synagogue at around 9pm CST (3am GMT), freed the hostages and killed the suspect.
He said the suspect appeared to be ‘singularly focused on one issue and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community’.
Mr Desarno added that the investigation is ongoing and they will be working with London police on the case. The suspect appeared to have a British accent when he spoke during the synagogue’s livestream.
Colleyville Police Chief Michael Miller said bomb technicians are still active at the scene as police investigate the suspect’s claims of having explosives inside the temple.
Officials said they have identified the suspect, but will not release his name yet or motive.
The suspect had demanded the release of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqu – known as Lady Al Qaeda – who, police say, he referred to as his ‘sister.’
However, a lawyer representing the woman’s brother denied he was involved after networks reported it was him.
Siddiqui was jailed for 86 years after being arrested in Afghanistan in 2008 for the attempted murder of a U.S. Army captain. The Pakistani-born neuroscientist was found with two kilos of poison sodium cyanide and plans for chemical attacks on New York’s Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building.
From inside the Texas synagogue, the assailant told a SWAT team: ‘If anyone tries to enter this building, I’m telling you…everyone will die.’
He could be heard ranting, in what appeared to be a British accent, on the synagogue’s Sabbath livestream, before it was cut off at 2pm CST, saying: ‘I’m going to die. Don’t cry about me’
The suspected terrorist spoke with a New York City rabbi earlier Saturday who was being interviewed by the FBI. He bizarrely demanded the female rabbi release Aafia.
The suspect had released one hostage earlier in the night, and at around 9pm CST (3am GMT), a loud bang was heard, followed by several gunshots, before the dramatic footage showed two of the remaining three hostages running out of the temple.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott confirmed all four hostages were out ‘alive and safe’, adding: ‘Prayers answered.’
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and New York City Mayor Eric Adams had deployed additional patrol units at synagogues as did other major cities, including Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Police say there is no current threat to the general public.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Desarno said: ‘We do believe from our engagement with this suspect that he was singularly focused on one issue and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community.
‘We are continuing to work to find motive and we will continue on that path.
‘In terms of the resolution of the incident, the hostage taker is deceased and we will conduct an independent investigation – my evidence response team will be here to process the scene and a team from Washington will be here to conduct an independent investigation of the shooting incident.’
This is an excerpt from Daily Mail.
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