Suspect shot dead after taking four hostages at Texas synagogue was ‘British’

From the Telegraph and Sky News

Police announced the hostage-taker, who reportedly demanded the freeing of a Pakistani prisoner, was dead

One of the hostages was released during a 10-hour stand-off at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville. An elite FBI team (left) rescued the three others and shot the suspect dead.

During the siege, the man demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui – a Pakistani scientist who in 2010 was sentenced by a New York court to 86 years in prison for the attempted murder of US officers in Afghanistan.

Sky News on Sunday reported that the suspect was British. Matt De Sarno, the FBI Special Agent in Charge, said there was no immediate indication that the man had connections to any broader plan but that the agency’s investigation “will have global reach”.

The hostage-taker was earlier heard demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist suspected of having ties to al Qaeda, who was convicted of trying to kill US military officers while in custody in Afghanistan.

The motive for attacking the synagogue, which is around 30 miles from Dallas, is still unclear, although police are trying to establish whether he and Siddiqui are related. Mr DeSarno said on Saturday night that the man had been identified “but we are not prepared to release his identity or confirm his identity at this time”.

Part of the attack was caught on a livestream of the morning shabbat service being broadcast on Facebook. Local media reports claim an angry man was heard shouting about religion and “his sister”, before the feed cut out at around 2pm. They claim the suspect had a British accent.

At one point, he could be heard asking: “What the f— is wrong with America?” He was heard to say “don’t cry for me, I’m going to die” shortly before the livestream cut out.

ABC initially said the man claimed to be Siddiqui’s brother, but later clarified her brother is in Houston – while other experts said the word the man used in Arabic was more figurative and meant “sister” in the Islamic faith.

Siddiqui’s lawyer said she “has absolutely no involvement” in the hostage situation in a statement to CNN.

I suspect (hope) that ‘British’ in this context means ‘holder of a British passport’. Sadly my country harbours some most unpleasant people. Now one less, and praise God and the elite team for getting the hostages out unharmed.