Hostages Reported Safe after Synagogue Attack, Suspect Dead

Beth israel
Congregation Beth Israel synagogue | Image by NBCDFW

As previously reported by the Dallas Express, a hostage situation occurred at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville when 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram held four people captive, including the Synagogue’s Rabbi, Charlie Cytron-Walker.

Authorities believe the reasoning for Faisal’s attack was partly due to his command for the release of Aafia Siddiqui.

Siddiqui is a Pakistani neuroscientist convicted of attempted murder against U.S. military officers while she was in custody in Afghanistan. She is also suspected of having ties to al-Qaeda. She is currently serving 86 years in a federal Texas prison.

The incident led to an 11-hour standoff on January 15, leaving the local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to rescue the hostages.

According to CBS 11 News’ JD Miles, around 9:15 p. m., “a loud explosion was just heard coming from the congregation Beth Israel synagogue where a standoff has been going on for 10 hours with a hostage-taker followed by what appeared to be gunshots.” 

The FBI hostage rescue team caused the explosion to enter the synagogue, confirmed CBS 11 News’ Doug Dunbar.

At approximately 9:36 p.m., Governor Greg Abbott tweeted that all hostages were out and safe.

The suspect was shot by the SWAT team.

None of the hostages were injured.

Several state and government officials reacted to the attack and prayed for the safety of the hostages. 

Joe Biden released a statement thanking law enforcement:

“Thanks to the courageous work of state, local and federal law enforcement, four Americans who were held hostage at a Texas synagogue will soon be home with their families.

“I am grateful to the tireless work of law enforcement at all levels who acted cooperatively and fearlessly to rescue the hostages. We are sending love and strength to the members of Congregation Beth Israel, Colleyville, and the Jewish community.

“There is more we will learn in the days ahead about the motivations of the hostage-taker. But let me be clear to anyone who intends to spread hate — we will stand against anti-Semitism and against the rise of extremism in this country.

“That is who we are, and tonight, the men and women of law enforcement made us all proud.”

Rabbi Cytron-Walker also expressed his gratitude in a Facebook post, “I am thankful and filled with appreciation for all of the vigils and prayers and love and support… I am grateful that we made it out. I am grateful to be alive.”

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