The FBI identified a kidnapper killed in a Texas synagogue as a British citizen after US President Joe Biden earlier Sunday said the gunman used guns he had found off the street to commit “an act of terrorism”. commit.
The FBI identified the man as Malik Faisal Akram, 44, who was killed after the safe release of his four hostages from the synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, Saturday night.
His brother Gulbar posted on Facebook that the suspect, from the industrial town of Blackburn in northern England, was suffering from a mental illness and said the family spent the whole night at Blackburn police station “talking to Faisal, the negotiators, the FBI etc.”
“There was nothing we could have said or done to convince him to surrender,” Gulbar wrote on the Blackburn Muslim Community Facebook page.
He said the FBI would fly to the UK “later today” and said there was little more the family could say as a result.
“We would like to say that as a family we do not condone any of his actions and would like to offer our sincere and heartfelt apologies to all the victims involved in the unfortunate incident,” the brother wrote.
The Colleyville, Texas, hostage-taking was “an act of terrorism,” said Biden, who was in Philadelphia with First Lady Jill Biden and wrapped carrots and apples in a plaque to honor the legacy of slain civilian human rights leader Martin during a visit to the city Luther King Jr
“Supposedly — I don’t have all the facts, and neither does the attorney general — but allegedly the allegation was that he got the guns on the street,” Biden said.
“He bought them when he landed and it turns out there didn’t seem to be any bombs that we know of. … Apparently he spent the first night in a homeless shelter. I don’t have all the details yet, so I hesitate to go into much more detail,” said the President.
An FBI hostage rescue team stormed the Beth Israel community in Colleyville, about 16 miles northeast of Fort Worth, on Saturday night, ending a 10-hour standoff with police by the shooter disrupting a Sabbath service and taking the rabbi and three other people hostage .
One hostage was released unharmed after six hours and the remaining three were later safely freed by the FBI team.
Colleyville Police Department SWAT teams moved into the synagogue after the 911 calls began around 10:41 a.m. during Sabbath services. FBI negotiators soon contacted the man, who said he wanted to speak to a woman being held in federal prison.
The man was heard having a one-way phone conversation during a Facebook livestream of the service. The man was heard ranting and talking about religion and his sister, and repeatedly saying he didn’t want to see anyone hurt, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
The kidnapper claimed to be the brother of Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, who is serving an 86-year US prison sentence for her 2010 conviction of shooting at soldiers and FBI agents, and is calling for her release, a US official told ABC News .
Siddiqui is being held in a federal prison in the Fort Worth area. An attorney representing Siddiqui, Marwa Elbially, told CNN in a statement that the man was not Siddiqui’s brother and that Siddiqui’s family condemned his “heinous” actions.
Although the Texas hostage situation appeared to be an isolated case, synagogues in New York and elsewhere across the country tightened security and officials condemned anti-Semitic acts.
“What happened yesterday at Congregation Beth Israel is a reminder that we must speak out and fight anti-Semitism and hatred wherever it exists,” U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement. “Everyone has the right to pray, work, learn and spend time with loved ones, not as each other – but as us.”
In his Facebook post, Akram’s brother, who also mentioned the death of a younger sibling “barely three months ago”, said the family’s priority is for Akram’s body to be brought back to the UK “for his funeral prayers”, although we have been warned that this could take weeks.”