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16 Jan, 2022 17:58

FBI identifies Texas synagogue hostage taker

President Joe Biden has called the hostage situation an “act of terror”
FBI identifies Texas synagogue hostage taker

The FBI has identified the man who took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue on Saturday as Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British citizen.

In a Sunday statement, authorities said they are continuing to investigate but do not believe other individuals beyond Akram were involved.

The FBI said its Evidence Response Team (ERT) is still processing the scene at the Colleyville, Texas synagogue, while the FBI's Shooting Incident Review Team (SIRT) will conduct a “thorough, factual, and objective investigation of the events.” 

The hostage situation ended with the death of Akram after police entered the synagogue following hours of negotiations.

Multiple US media outlets speculated on Saturday that Akram was the brother of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist charged in 2010 with attempting to murder US soldiers and FBI agents overseas. Siddiqui is currently serving an 86-year sentence in the US, and Akram was reportedly negotiating for her release, referring to her as his “sister.” 

However, a lawyer for Siddiqui's biological brother confirmed that they are not related to the now-deceased suspect. The imprisoned woman, who many argue is an innocent political prisoner, also condemned the actions of Akram.

US President Joe Biden described the hostage situation as an “act of terror,” on Sunday, even suggesting it was too easy for the suspect to arm himself. The president called background checks on gun purchases “essential.”

“I don't think there is sufficient information to know about why he targeted that synagogue, why he insisted on the release of someone who's been in prison for over 10 years, why he was engaged, why he was using an anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli comments,” Biden told reporters.

The UK government also condemned Akram, referring to his actions as “an anti-semitic act of terror.”

“We condemn this act of terrorism and anti-semitism. We stand with US in defending the rights and freedoms of our citizens against those who spread hate,” Foreign Minister Liz Truss tweeted.