British hostage-taker demanding Pak scientist’s release shot dead in US

PTI | London | Updated: 16-01-2022 23:44 IST | Created: 16-01-2022 23:44 IST
British hostage-taker demanding Pak scientist’s release shot dead in US
  • Country:
  • United Kingdom

The man who held four people hostage at a synagogue in the US state of Texas before being shot dead by the FBI was 44-year-old British citizen Malik Faisal Akram, calling for the release of a jailed Pakistani neuroscientist suspected of having ties to the al-Qaeda terrorist group.

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said it was “aware of the death of a British man in Texas and are in contact with the local authorities''.

Akram, who was identified by the FBI, demanded the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who was convicted of trying to kill US military officers while in custody in Afghanistan.

The hostage-taker said that he wanted to speak to Siddiqui, who is being held at FMC Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, following her conviction in 2010.

Witnesses claim that he referred to her as his sister, but John Floyd of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Siddiqui's brother was not involved.

''This assailant has nothing to do with Dr Aafia, her family, or the global campaign to get justice for Dr Aafia,'' he said.

According to UK media reports, one hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville in Texas was released six hours into the 10-hour standoff, before an FBI SWAT team entered the building on Saturday night and the remaining hostages were freed unharmed.

FBI Special Agent in-charge Matt DeSarno said earlier there was no immediate indication that the man had connections to any broader plan but that the agency's investigation ''will have global reach''.

US President Joe Biden, who was briefed on the crisis as it unfolded, praised the ''courageous work'' of all those involved in the rescue operation.

''There is more we will learn in the days ahead about the motivations of the hostage taker,'' he said in a statement.

''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,” he said.

Part of the attack was caught on a livestream of the morning shabbat service being broadcast on Facebook.

Local media reports claimed that an angry man was heard shouting about religion, before the feed was cut out in the early hours of Sunday. It had been claimed that the suspect had a British accent.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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