Two Men Arrested in UK Over Texas Synagogue Hostage Situation

COLLEYVILLE, TEXAS - JANUARY 16: A law enforcement vehicle sits in front of the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on January 16, 2022 in Colleyville, Texas. All four people who were held hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue have been safely released after more than 10 hours of being held …
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Two men have been arrested in the UK in relation to the recent hostage attack on a Synagogue in Texas.

UK police have announced the arrest of two men in relation to the hostage attack on the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas.

Malik Faisal Akram — the UK national responsible for the attack — was shot dead after an 11-hour standoff after taking a number of hostages.

It has subsequently been revealed that Akram was previously known to UK Intelligence,  but was not deemed a threat to the public after an assessment in 2020.

As part of the UK’s ongoing investigation into the incident, The Telegraph has reported that a number of arrests have been made in Britain.

“Officers from Counter-Terror Policing (CTP) North West continue to support US authorities with their investigation into the events in Texas,” the publication reports the Greater Manchester Police as saying.

“As a result of this ongoing investigation, two men have been arrested this morning in Birmingham and Manchester,” the statement continues. “They remain in custody for questioning.”

The UK paper also notes that two teenagers who were also arrested after the attack have since been released without charge.

Police in the UK have also encouraged individuals within the country to come forward should they notice anything suspicious relating to terrorism

“Communities defeat terrorism and the help and support we get from the public is a vital part of that,” the police said in their statement. “So, we would urge everyone to remain vigilant, and if you do see anything suspicious then please report it, in confidence, to police via the anti-terrorist hotline or gov.uk/ACT.”

“It won’t ruin lives but it may well save them.”

The plea comes soon after it emerged that Akram was already known to the British intelligence service MI5, with the organisation conducting a short investigation into the man in 2020.

However, MI5 concluded at the time that there was no indication that Akram presented a terrorist threat.

Alleged audio from the attacker’s last phone call with his brother, however, claims to reveal that Akram fully intended to die as a “martyr” in the US, and to come back home “in a body bag.”

“I’ve come to die, G,” the speaker in the recording can be heard telling a man identified as his brother — who attempted to talk him out of continuing on with the hostage situation — over the phone. “I’ve asked Allah for this death and — guess what — Allah is with me.”

Despite Akram’s apparent intentions, the intelligence service was not even aware that Akram had left the country for the US.

The organisation will now assess how the threat level the attacker posed was misinterpreted.

 

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