All Fort Worth Synagogue Hostages Out Safe and Alive, Governor Says - Rolling Stone
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Captor Dead, Hostages Alive After Fort Worth Synagogue Standoff

A man held at least four people hostage for nearly 12 hours, demanding the release of a convicted terrorist

Colleyville police secure the area around Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 in Colleyville, Texas.   Authorities say a man has apparently taken hostages at the synagogue near Fort Worth, Texas. The Colleyville Police Department tweeted Saturday afternoon that it was conducting SWAT operations at the address of Congregation Beth Israel  (Jessika Harkay/Star-Telegram via AP)Colleyville police secure the area around Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 in Colleyville, Texas.   Authorities say a man has apparently taken hostages at the synagogue near Fort Worth, Texas. The Colleyville Police Department tweeted Saturday afternoon that it was conducting SWAT operations at the address of Congregation Beth Israel  (Jessika Harkay/Star-Telegram via AP)

Colleyville police secure the area around Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 15, 2022.

Jessika Harkay/Star-Telegram via AP

A suspect is dead, and all hostages are alive following a standoff at a synagogue near Fort Worth, Texas Saturday. The man held at least four people hostage for nearly 12 hours, according to the AP, and released one hostage unharmed earlier in the evening.

“We are sending love and strength to the members of Congregation Beth Israel, Colleyville, and the Jewish community,” President Biden said in a statement. “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.”

The FBI negotiated with the suspect, who entered the synagogue during Saturday morning services. Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker was believed to be among the hostages.

Authorities said the suspect demanded the release of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, the woman known as “Lady al Qaeda” who was sentenced to 86 years in prison for the assault and attempted murder of a U.S. soldier during a 2010 interrogation; Siddiqui, who allegedly had ties to al-Qaida, is behind bars at Carswell Air Force Base near Fort Worth.

The suspect threatened that he had bombs in the area. Soon after taking the hostages, he was heard negotiating with authorities via a Facebook livestream for the synagogue’s service. On the livestream — which was being viewed by 8,000 people before it was abruptly turned off — the suspect could be heard ranting about religion.

Siddiqui’s lawyer released a statement condemning the attack and denying reports that the suspect is her brother. “We strongly condemn the hostage-taking at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, TX,” attorney Marwa Elbially in a statement. “We implore the hostage taker to immediately release all hostages and turn himself in.”

“We want to verify that the perpetrator is NOT Dr. Aafia’s brother who is a respected architect and member of the community. Whoever the assailant is, we want him to know that his actions are condemned by Dr. Aafia and her family,” the statement added, per CNN.

In 2014, following reports that ISIS demanded the release of Siddiqui in exchange for a 26-year-old American woman who was kidnapped in Syria, Siddiqui’s family said in a statement, “While we deeply appreciate the sincere feelings of those who, like us, wish to see the freedom of our beloved Aafia, we cannot agree with a ‘by any means necessary’ approach to Aafia’s freedom. Nor can we accept that someone else’s daughter or sister suffer like Aafia is suffering.” (ISIS had previously demanded Siddiqui’s release in exchange for murdered American journalist James Foley.)

“I am closely monitoring the unfolding hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville,” Fort Worth Rep. Marc Veasey tweeted. “I know the Rabbi and his wife Adena very well. I’m praying for his safety and his congregants, and hope that this situation is resolved soon.”

Congregation Beth Israel synagogue, established in 1999, was the first Jewish congregation in Northeast Tarrant County, CNN reports.

The Anti-Defamation League thanked law enforcement for the safe resolution in a statement and said, “This situation is a painful reminder of the fact that synagogues in America continue to be at risk for terrorist attacks. There is no doubt, given what we know so far, that the hostage-taker chose his target carefully. We urge law enforcement and prosecutors to investigate the role antisemitism may have played in motivating the suspect.”

This breaking news post has been updated.

In This Article: terrorism

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