The hostage situation in Colleyville, Texas at the synagogue Congregation Beth Israel had spanned almost 11 hours when it ended abruptly about 9:15 p.m. yesterday.
Four people, including the rabbi, had been taken hostage by a man who said he wanted the release of Aafia Siddiqui, the woman known as “Lady al Qaeda,” who was being held in a nearby federal prison. Siddiqui was convicted of trying to kill U.S. military members while being detained in Afghanistan and was given an 86-year sentence. There have been multiple protests, including those from CAIR, trying to agitate for her release. She’s gotten the support of militants in the past, Fox notes.
An Ohio man who admitted he plotted to kill U.S. military members after receiving training in Syria also planned to fly to Texas and attack the federal prison where Siddiqui is being held in an attempt to free her. The man, Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, was sentenced in 2018 to 22 years in prison.
As the hostage situation continued over the 11 hours, one person was released shortly after 5:00 p.m., unharmed, which was a positive sign that the hostage negotiators were making progress.
Then we got the news from Gov. Greg Abbott just after 9:30 p.m.
All hostages are out alive and safe.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 16, 2022
Now we have the video taken by WFAA-TV photographer Josh Stephen which, right around 9:15 p.m., shows hostages running out of one of the doors of the synagogue, then immediately followed by the hostage-taker with a gun. The synagogue was surrounded by SWAT and heavily armed law enforcement.
The hostage-taker then ducked back into the synagogue, then law enforcement crashed the building, you can hear shooting and a loud bang which was probably a flashbang to distract him. Fortunately, the hostages all got out okay.
The man has now been identified as a British national, although they haven’t yet identified him by name.
JUST IN: UK Foreign Office spokesperson confirms the Texas synagogue hostage taker was a British national.
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) January 16, 2022
That raises a lot of questions about how he got here, what his purposes were, and whether he was previously identified as a problem — if he had any prior criminal background, as well as what relation, if any, he had to Siddiqui or al Qaeda.