Two men arrested in England as part of Texas hostage-taking investigation




  • In US
  • 2022-01-26 17:20:07Z
  • By The Hill
 


British authorities on Wednesday arrested two men as part of their investigation into the hostage situation that took place at a synagogue in Texas earlier this month.

Police arrested two men in Manchester and they currently remain in custody for questioning as part of the British counter terrorism force's investigation with U.S. law enforcement, according to the Greater Manchester Police.

Earlier in January, British national Malik Faisal Akram was identified as the gunman who held four people hostage at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, for more than 10 hours. After an hours-long standoff, the situation ended with all the hostages released unharmed and Akram killed.

According to Akram's family, he had "mental health issues" that were exacerbated by the recent death of his brother from COVID-19 complications. Though it was reported at the time that Akram had demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani scientist accused of helping terrorist groups, Siddiqui's attorney denied that they had any connection.

An investigation into Akram's motivations is still underway. His family has said that they don't believe he was antisemitic or racist, nor do they have any connections to the Texas area where the synagogue was located.

British authorities arrested two other men in Birmingham and Manchester last week in connection to the hostage situation.

The incident has widely been condemned as an antisemitic and an act of terror. FBI Director Christopher Wray called the situation "an act of terrorism targeting the Jewish community."

"This was not some random occurrence," said Wray. "It was intentional, it was symbolic and we're not going to tolerate antisemitism in this country."

After Akram was identified as the gunman, it was reported by the BBC that the British security agency MI5 had previously investigated him in 2020 and considered him to be a "subject of interest." However, by 2021 he was no longer considered a threat and was moved off the list.

Akram's brother, Gulbar Akram, spoke out after his death and questioned how Malik Akram, known to British security officials, was able to acquire a visa to travel to the U.S.

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