Colleyville Synagogue Crisis: Hostage-Taker Was Reportedly a British Citizen
© AFP 2022 / BRANDON BELLA father carries his child out of a Catholic Mass service near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on January 15, 2022 in Colleyville, Texas. Police responded to a hostage situation after reports of a man with a gun was holding people captive at the synagogue.
On Saturday, four people were taken hostage in a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. The perpetrator ended up being killed, and all hostages were freed, uninjured.
A hostage-taker behind the incident at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas was a British citizen, several reports have suggested, referring to a statement made by the UK Foreign Office.
On Sunday, the UK Foreign Office said it was aware of the death of a British man in Texas and that it was remaining in contact with the local authorities. The statement was issued in response to an enquiry about a Sky News report that said that the perpetrator was British.
The hostage-taker was killed, and the details of his death remain unclear, with FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno saying only that his team will investigate the "shooting incident".
He also said that the man had been identified "but we are not prepared to release his identity or confirm his identity at this time". According to what law enforcement officials - who were not authorised to discuss the ongoing investigation - told the Associated Press, the hostage-taker demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist suspected of having ties to Al-Qaeda*.
All hostages were released unharmed around 10pm local time on Saturday, having spent several hours detained in the synagogue. The perpetrator had interrupted the Shabbat service in the synagogue, which was being live-streamed on Facebook.
After the Colleyville incident, US President Joe Biden condemned anti-Semitism and extremism, even though details about the perpetrator's motivations have not been officially revealed.
Among those reacting to the incident was Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who said on Twitter that the Texas event "was a stark reminder that anti-semitism is still alive and we must continue to fight it worldwide."
*Al-Qaeda is a terrorist organisation outlawed in Russia and many other states.