Diaspora

What We Know About the Hostage Situation in a Texas Synagogue – The New York Times

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The authorities have identified the suspect, a British citizen, who was killed when the hostages at a synagogue in the Dallas-Fort Worth area were freed on Saturday night.
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transcript
Today’s result, which was four safe hostages and a situation resolved, was really a result of a long day of hard work by nearly 200 law enforcement officers from across this region, local officers from across this region. I do not have any information right now that indicates that this is part of any kind of ongoing threat. We obviously are investigating. We’ll continue to investigate the hostage taker. We’ll continue to investigate his contacts. Our investigation will have global reach. In terms of the resolution of the incident, the hostage taker is deceased. Four people who were rescued are not in need of medical attention, are with F.B.I. agents right now, will be reunited with their family unharmed. He did not harm them in any way.

The authorities freed four hostages from a Texas synagogue on Saturday night after a harrowing day of threats, negotiations and prayers.
The suspect is dead, officials said, and his motives are still under investigation.
Here’s what we know so far.
Malik Faisal Akram, 44, was identified by the F.B.I. on Sunday as the man who took four people, including a rabbi, hostage on Saturday morning at a service at Congregation Beth Israel. The Reform synagogue is in Colleyville, a city of about 26,000 residents that is about 15 miles northeast of Fort Worth, Texas.
The service had been livestreamed, and on the stream, Mr. Akram could be heard shouting about dying and demanding to get a woman he said was his sister on the phone. The immediate area was evacuated, and residents were instructed to remain home and avoid approaching the synagogue.
Over the course of the day, about 200 local, state and federal law enforcement officers converged on the synagogue, including a team of F.B.I. agents and hostage negotiators who flew from Quantico, Va., the authorities said. One male hostage was released at about 5 p.m., the police said. He was unharmed.
By around 9:30 p.m., the F.B.I.’s elite hostage rescue team freed the remaining hostages from the synagogue safely. They were unharmed and did not need medical attention, the authorities said.
Officials said negotiators had been speaking with Mr. Akram throughout the day.
“It’s very likely this situation would have ended very badly early on in the day had we not had professional, consistent negotiation with the subject,” Matthew DeSarno, the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s field office in Dallas, said at a news conference on Saturday night.
The suspect is dead, the police said. The F.B.I. Dallas field office on Sunday confirmed the identity of the hostage taker as Mr. Akram, who was a British citizen.
“At this time, there is no indication that other individuals are involved,” the F.B.I. said in a statement. The agency’s North Texas terrorism task force is following leads, the F.B.I. said.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said Mr. Akram had demanded to see his “sister,” who may not actually be related to him and who is currently in U.S. federal custody for “terroristic events” in Afghanistan.
“The man claims he and his sister will be going to Jannah (Muslim belief of heaven) after he sees her,” the department said in a statement on Saturday before the rescue.
Authorities said the area in and around the synagogue was still an active crime scene.
Though the situation had been resolved, the Colleyville police chief, Michael C. Miller, said that an F.B.I. evidence team and bomb technicians would be sweeping the area.
“I do not have any information right now that indicates that this is part of any kind of ongoing threat,” Mr. DeSarno said, adding: “We’ll continue to investigate the hostage taker. We’ll continue to investigate his contacts. Our investigation will have global reach.”
He said that his staff had contacted the authorities in other countries.
The four hostages were all adults, according to the police chief, though he did not specify their ages.
At a news conference on Saturday night, the authorities said the hostages were being interviewed by the F.B.I. One of them was the synagogue’s rabbi.
The lead rabbi of the synagogue, Charlie Cytron-Walker, was described as a unifying presence who had worked to improve interfaith relations.
“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, all of the security training that helped save us,” he said in a Facebook post on Sunday morning.
He added: “I am grateful that we made it out. I am grateful to be alive.”
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