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UK police arrest two men over Texas synagogue attack

Counter-terrorism officers detain and question pair over possible ties to hostage-taker Malik Faisal Akram, who was killed after 11-hour siege in Colleyville on Saturday

A law enforcement vehicle sits in front of the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on January 16, 2022 in Colleyville, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images/AFP)
A law enforcement vehicle sits in front of the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on January 16, 2022 in Colleyville, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images/AFP)

UK police on Thursday morning arrested two men over their alleged role in a hostage-taking by a British man at a synagogue in Texas last weekend.

The men were arrested in Birmingham in central England and in Manchester in northwestern England by counter-terrorism officers, Greater Manchester Police said in a tweet.

The men were being questioned in custody by Counter Terrorism Policing North West.

The man who held four people hostage at a Texas synagogue was identified by US authorities as a British citizen, 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram. Akram was killed at the end of the 11-hour siege in the small town of Colleyville on Saturday.

The FBI’s field office in Dallas had earlier said there was “no indication” that anyone else was involved in the attack on the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue.

Media reports said Akram had been investigated in 2020 by Britain’s domestic security agency MI5, which shut down the probe after a little over a month due to a lack of evidence that he was a threat.

Congregation Beth Israel hostage-taker, identified as 44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram. (Courtesy)

Reports say the hostage-taker was seeking the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist known as “Lady Al-Qaeda,” whose detention has been a cause celebre for jihadists.

UK police on Sunday detained two teenagers and searched a property in Manchester some 21 miles (34 kilometers) from Blackburn in connection with the siege but released them without charge.

According to NBC News, a senior law enforcement official identified the two teenagers as the sons of Akram. The official told NBC that Akram was in touch with his two sons at some point during the hostage situation on Saturday in Texas.

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