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FBI identifies hostage-taker in synagogue standoff as 44-year-old British citizen

Police tape (Dreamstime/TNS)

 The FBI has identified the hostage-taker in Saturday’s standoff at Colleyville synagogue as Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British citizen.

“The FBI’s Evidence Response Team (ERT) will continue processing evidence at the synagogue,” the FBI said in a news release. “At this time, there is no indication that other individuals are involved. The FBI’s North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force (NTJTTF), which includes member agencies from across the region, will continue to follow investigative leads. An FBI Shooting Incident Review Team (SIRT) will conduct a thorough, factual, and objective investigation of the events.”

The United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said Sunday it was “aware of the death of a British man in Texas and are in contact with the local authorities.”

Central Synagogue in New York said in a message to its congregation that Senior Rabbi Angel Buchdahl was contacted by the hostage-taker, though she had no connection with him. “Rabbi Buchdahl immediately contacted law enforcement and followed their directions,” according to the statement, signed by President Shonni J. Silverberg and Executive Director Marcia Caban.

Little is known yet about Akram and how he gained entry into the synagogue.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno from the Dallas field office said a federal investigation into the hostage-taker will be conducted globally, with special focuses on Tel Aviv and London.

The gunman, he said, was “singularly focused on one issue” not related to the Jewish community.

DeSarno said the rescue of the hostages and death of the hostage-taker “was a result of a long, long day of hard work by nearly 200 law enforcement officers from across this region.”

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