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Rabbi and worshippers held hostage at Texas synagogue | US News

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A rabbi and several worshippers are being held hostage by a man at a synagogue in Texas.

A SWAT team and FBI officers have been called to the incident at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville.

The hostage taker has reportedly told authorities he wants the release of Aafia Siddiqui from a federal prison.

Siddiqui, 49, was convicted in 2010 of attempting to kill US officers in Afghanistan and is currently being held at FMC Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.

It is not known if the hostage taker is related to Siddiqui.

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The Congregation Beth Israel synagogue serves the Reform community in Colleyville. Pic: Google

Dara Nelson, a police sergeant for Colleyville Police, said there were no injuries to report and that officers had evacuated the area.

“The FBI negotiators are the ones who have contact with the person in the building,” Sgt Nelson said, adding there was “no threat to the general public”.

Audio of the initial hostage incident was caught on a morning Shabbat service which the synagogue was livestreaming on Facebook.

Although no images of inside the building were broadcast, the audio recorded a man shouting angrily, according to multiple reports.

NBC cited three senior law enforcement officials briefed on the situation who say that the man inside the synagogue is holding a Rabbi and potentially others hostage.

The man has told the authorities that he wants the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a woman suspected of connection to Al Qaeda, from federal prison in the US.

It is not known whether he has any other demands.

A Texas state trooper blocks traffic on a road leading to a Colleyville, Texas synagogue where a man apparently took hostages Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Jake Bleiberg)
Image:
A Texas state trooper blocks traffic on a road leading to the synagogue. Pic: AP

Siddiqui, 49, was convicted in 2010 of attempting to kill US officers in Afghanistan while held in an Afghan National Police facility.

She is currently imprisoned just over 15 miles away from the synagogue in Colleyville.

Law enforcement officials in Texas are attempting to establish whether the suspect is related to Siddiqui.

According to the Department of Justice, Siddiqui “was detained by Afghan authorities [in 2008], who found a number of items in her possession, including handwritten notes that referred to a ‘mass casualty attack’ and that listed various locations in the United States, including Plum Island, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, and the Brooklyn Bridge.”

The DoJ said that Siddiqui was being held in an unsecured fashion, behind a curtain, when she grabbed a US Army office’s rifle and used to shoot members of the team which was interviewing her, injuring an FBI agent and another US Army officer.

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