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Texas synagogue siege: Everything we know about the hostage-taker in Colleyville



How did a British man from Blackburn find yourself holding 4 individuals hostage in a synagogue in Texas? That’s the query each UK and US authorities are actually making an attempt to reply after the FBI named Malik Faisal Akram as Saturday’s hostage-taker.

Akram, 44, held the congregants on the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, on the outskirts of Fort Value, for about ten hours on Saturday. A Fb livestream of the Shabbat service was left operating at first, and distant viewers heard him negotiating with police.

Lastly a hostage rescue staff secured the prisoners, and Akram was killed, although it isn’t clear precisely how. Reporters on the scene stated they heard gunfire and explosions, and a person claiming to be Akram’s brother stated he was “shot and killed” in a firefight.

So what will we find out about Malik Faisal Akram and his motives?

From Lancashire to Texas through New York

“I do not wanna damage ’em, yeah? Are you listening?”

These have been among the many final phrases captured from the Beth Israel livestream earlier than it was eliminated by Fb. They have been spoken by an unseen man, apparently the hostage taker negotiating with law enforcement officials over the cellphone.

His accent did not appear to be American. His means of talking – peppered with “yeah?” and “bro” and “man” used like punctuation – sounded surprisingly acquainted to British reporters.

On Sunday we realized why. A bulletin from the FBI named the person as Malik Faisal Akram, a British citizen from Blackburn, Lancashire. “Right now, there is no such thing as a indication that different people are concerned,” the company stated.

The UK’s Overseas and Commonwealth Workplace confirmed that it was “conscious of the dying of a British man in Texas and involved with the native authorities”.

London’s Metropolitan Police, which handles terrorism instances throughout the UK, stated “liaising with US authorities… concerning the incident in Texas”.

In keeping with CBS Information, Akram shouldn’t be a US citizen and arrived within the nation about two weeks in the past through JFK Worldwide Airport in New York Metropolis. He has no felony file in federal courts.

Investigators reportedly assessed the hostage-taker as “emotionally unstable”. On the livestream, he sounds extremely agitated, typically berating the negotiator, repeating himself, and infrequently showing to lose his composure.

Brother says Akram ‘suffered from psychological well being points’

On Sunday morning a British Fb web page referred to as Blackburn Muslim Group posted a press release stated to be from Akram’s brother Gulbar.

It was later taken offline, however in screenshots made by The Unbiased he describes spending the evening within the incident room at Greenbank police station serving to the FBI and hostage negotiators.

“Though my brother was affected by psychological well being points, we have been assured that he wouldn’t hurt the hostages,” stated the submit, which referred to Akram by his center title Faisal.

“At round 3am the primary particular person was launched, then an hour later he launched the opposite three individuals via the hearth door unhurt.”

That account is backed up by information footage from WFAA exhibiting two individuals dashing out of the synagogue’s fireplace escape, adopted by a person holding a firearm and carrying a face masks. He’s seen on video peeking out after which rapidly vanishes again inside. Afterwards, armed police take up positions across the partitions.

The Fb submit continued: “A couple of minutes later a firefight has taken place and he was shot and killed. There was nothing we might have stated to him or finished that may have satisfied him to give up… clearly our precedence can be to get him again to the UK for his funeral prayers, though we now have been warned it might take weeks.”

The submit additionally talked about the dying of a youthful sibling “barely three months in the past”. It stated FBI brokers have been because of fly to the UK on Sunday, presumably to interview Akram’s household. It started and concluded by saying the entire Akram household condemns the hostage taker’s actions.

An opportunity comment caught on the livestream provides one further element about Malik Akram’s life.

“Do not f***ing cry over me, okay?” the person tells the negotiator at one level. “I left six stunning youngsters. I did not cry… my coronary heart has develop into stone.”

What was Akram’s motive?

Early reviews prompt that the hostage-taker was demanding the discharge of Aafia Siddiqui, a US-educated Pakistani neuroscientist serving 86 years in jail in Fort Value for making an attempt to shoot American troopers n Afghanistan.

She maintains her innocence. Various supporters within the US and in Pakistan imagine she was framed.

It is clear from the livestream that Malik wished to talk to a sure prisoner, whom he known as his “sister”.

That language – doubtlessly a generic honorific – could have been the supply of a false preliminary report that he was Siddiqui’s precise organic brother Muhammad, whose lawyer says he was 300 miles away in Houston.

Aafia Siddiqui’s lawyer advised The Unbiased that Akram had “completely” no connection to her shopper or her household and that her shopper “has at all times maintained that no violence ought to be finished in her title”.

Within the livestream, Akram seems to say: “That is the state of affairs, yeah? These are the stakes. You have bought hostages in a synagogue. He is requested for a prisoner to be launched, and his gonna die, okay?”

Later he calls for the negotiator put his “sister” on the cellphone, saying that “when you get my sister, issues will” change or flip (the audio is unclear). At one other level, apparently requested about his motives, he repeats twice: “I care about her, that is why I am doing it.”

FBI particular agent in cost Matt DeSarno stated they believed the person was “singularly centered on one problem and it was not particularly associated to the Jewish group”, including they may proceed to “work to search out motive”.

Many social media customers expressed contempt for the concept an assault on a synagogue may very well be unrelated to antisemitism, notably contemplating the potential hyperlink to Siddiqui. All through her trial, she made antisemitic statements, and at one level demanded the jury be genetically-tested so Jewish individuals may very well be excluded.

Each the FBI and the Gulbar Akram’s refered to “psychological well being points” in statements concerning the hostage-taker.

How did he get a gun and did he have explosives?

Even with its liberal gun legal guidelines, Texas doesn’t permit international residents who will not be US residents to legally buy weapons. Provided that Akram reportedly arrived within the US two weeks in the past, it is unclear how he obtained a weapon.

Throughout a go to to a meals financial institution in Philadelphia this weekend, President Joe Biden prompt one concept after cautioning that officers don’t but have all of the details.

“Allegedly the assertion was he bought the weapons on the road,” Mr Biden stated. “He bought them when he landed and it turns on the market apparently have been no bombs that we all know of.”

In keeping with CBS, no explosives had been discovered on the synagogue (as of 12.17pm Central Time on Sunday). Akram had reportedly claimed to have bombs arrange in unknown places.

An official advised CBS that Akram had joined the synagogue service on Saturday by claiming to be a homeless man. Mr Biden additionally stated he had been advised the hostage-taker spent his first evening within the US in a homeless shelter.

Mr Biden referred to as Akram’s actions “an act of terror”.

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