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Live hostage situation at Texas synagogue; terrorist’s brother is hostage-taker says ABC source

Police car lights (Viorel Margineanu/Dreamstime/TNS)
January 15, 2022

UPDATE 10:40 p.m. EST: All four hostages have been safely recovered.

On Saturday night, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted, “Prayers answered. All hostages are out alive and safe.”

The safe recovery of the remaining three hostages comes about three hours after a male hostage was released.

Abbott’s tweet did not specify how the hostages were recovered, but CNN reported a loud explosion and short blast of gunfire could be heard from near the synagogue minutes before Abbott tweeted.

UPDATE 9:40 p.m. EST: One of four hostages has been released from the Synagogue at around 5:00 p.m. CST on Saturday.

In a tweeted statement, the Colleyville Police announced the male hostage was uninjured and will be reunited with his family as soon as possible. FBI hostage negotiators are continuing to speak with the suspect.

An armed suspect is holding hostages at a Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Colleyville Police Sgt. Dara Nelson told CNN that the FBI and the Texas Department of Public Safety had responded to the hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel. Another law enforcement official they believe the suspect is holding at least four hostages.

“The FBI negotiators are the ones who have contact with the person in the building,” Nelson added.

ABC News reported an unnamed U.S. official briefed on the matter said the hostage-taker is claiming to be the brother of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, but authorities have not yet confirmed his identity.

Siddiqui held ties with Al Qaeda and was convicted in 2010 for the attempted murder of a U.S. soldier two years earlier in Afghanistan. She was also previously married to the nephew of Al Qaeda leader and confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Siddiqui is currently incarcerated at Carswell Air Force Base near Fort Worth. The suspect at the Synagogue reportedly demanded she be released.

Marwa Elbially, the attorney representing Siddiqui subsequently told CNN the suspect is not her client’s brother.

“We strongly condemn the hostage-taking at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, TX,” Elbially said. “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,” the attorney’s statement continued. “Whoever the assailant is, we want him to know that his actions are condemned by Dr. Aafia and her family.”

Aafia’s attorney also called the suspect’s actions “heinous and wrong.” While Aafia’s attorney cast doubts on the suspects claim he is her brother, CNN reported investigators believe her case could still be a motivating factor for the suspect.

The Colleyville Police Department initially announced it had dispatched a SWAT team to the scene late Saturday morning.

“We are currently conducting SWAT operations around the 6100 block of Pleasant Run Rd. All residents in the immediate area are being evacuated. Please avoid the area,” the Colleyville Police tweeted.

“UPDATE 1/15/22, 2:20 PM The situation at the 6100 block of Pleasant Run Road posted about earlier remains ongoing. We ask that you continue to avoid the area. We will continue to provide updates via social media,” the police department said in an update.