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The hostage crisis at a Texas synagogue is over, with all hostages safe, the suspect dead and the media having confirmed that the suspect was not in fact the brother of convicted suspect terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, aka “Lady al Qaeda.”
The crisis ended sometime after 10:00 pm Saturday evening, shortly after two hostages were captured on film escaping from Congregation Beth Israel, a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas.
The suspect could be seen in the recording briefly opening the door in chase, catching sight of all the FBI agents standing outside and then quickly rushing back inside.
Hostages leaving #Colleyville synagogue after the 12 hour standoff pic.twitter.com/Ma2Wf90VR8
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) January 16, 2022
The first of the hostages had been voluntarily released by the suspect earlier that afternoon as part of negotiations between the FBI and the suspect.
Shortly after the two additional hostages escaped, FBI agents reportedly stormed the facility, killing the suspect in the process and rescuing the remaining hostages, including the synagogue’s rabbi.
Update at 9:55pm: The SWAT situation in Colleyville is resolved and all hostages are safe. We continue to work in partnership with the FBI to finalize all details. We will be addressing the media staging area at Good Shepherd Catholic Church at 10:15pm with an update.
— Colleyville Police (@ColleyvillePD) January 16, 2022
All hostages are out alive and safe.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 16, 2022
The hostage crisis began around 10:00 am Saturday morning, when the unnamed suspect interrupted a service at the synagogue and took the congregation hostage.
“Police in Colleyville said they were called to the synagogue in the 6100 block of Pleasant Run Road about 10:40 a.m. According to a written statement, officers ‘observed an emergency situation that warranted evacuation of the surrounding areas’ and established a perimeter,” according to The Dallas Morning News.
“About 50 minutes later, the department tweeted that it was ‘conducting SWAT operations’ and asked people to avoid the area.”
This is true:
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.
— Colleyville Police (@ColleyvillePD) January 15, 2022
An elite FBI rescue team was promptly deployed to initiate negotiations with the suspect, who according to reports had claimed he was the brother of Aafia Siddiqui, aka “Lady al Qaeda.”
“The woman whose freedom was sought, Aafia Siddiqui, is serving an 86-year prison sentence after being convicted in Manhattan in 2010 on charges that she sought to shoot U.S. military officers while being detained in Afghanistan two years earlier,” according to the Associated Press.
“In 2008, she was detained by authorities in Afghanistan. American officials said they found in her possession handwritten notes that discussed the construction of so-called dirty bombs and that listed various locations in the U.S. that could be targeted in a ‘mass casualty attack,'”
When U.S. authorities tried to interrogate her, she “grabbed the M-4 rifle of a U.S. Army officer and opened fire.”
“For the Justice Department, which had accused Siddiqui of being an al-Qaida operative, it was a significant conviction in the fight against international extremism. But to her supporters, many of whom believed in her innocence, the case embodied what they saw as an overzealous post Sept. 11-American judicial system,” the AP notes.
The suspect was clearly among her supporters. So are some members of the establishment press, for that matter:
Uh oh pic.twitter.com/AHBr7gU55S
— Jacek Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) January 16, 2022
However, Siddiqui’s actual brother, who’s still alive (unlike the suspect), has refuted the suspect’s claim and denounced his acts of violence.
“A lawyer who previously represented Siddiqui’s biological brother [said] that he was not the person inside the synagogue, which the family later confirmed,” The Daily Beast confirmed.
“Muhammad Siddiqui, an architect, was not happy that he had been implicated in the situation, and wanted people to know that Aafia was not the suspect’s biological ‘sister.'”
That being said, while his sister is linked to al-Qaeda, she’s also become an ISIS favorite. The Washington Post reported in 2014 that ISIS “desperately” wanted her freed.
“They want her back so badly, jihadists said they would have traded James Foley for Siddiqui, who’s in U.S. prison. They said they would have traded Bowe Bergdahl for her. They said they would trade a 26-year-old American woman, kidnapped one year ago, for her,” according to the Post.
Considering her clear-cut ties to Islamic terror groups and the suspect’s claim to be her brother, it’s assumed by most — but not including Democrat President Joe Biden — that his actions were motivated by Islamic terrorism:
This late Biden statement is insane. We know the motivation of the hostage taker. pic.twitter.com/olySxuqb1U
— Brent Scher (@BrentScher) January 16, 2022
It’s amazing how they’re willing to jump to conclusions to criticize police or border patrol, but not terrorists.
— Brent Scher (@BrentScher) January 16, 2022
During a press conference following the storming of the synagogue and killing of the suspect, federal authorities refused for the time being to identify the suspect’s real name.
FBI agents and their local counterparts did however reportedly lavish praise on Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker.
Dallas Police Department chaplain Andrew Marc Paley told The Times of Israel that everyone was “really so impressed and genuinely appreciative of how calm and collected Rabbi Charlie was, keeping order and everybody’s wits about them.”
Some of the hostage crisis was captured on Facebook as the service from early Saturday morning was being live-streamed, but Facebook eventually cut the feed.
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