Rabbi threw chair at Texas synagogue gunman before escaping; FBI casts standoff as terrorism

Written by on January 17, 2022

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A rabbi who endured a tense, 10-hour standoff at a Texas synagogue stated Monday that he and the opposite hostages fled after he threw a chair on the assailant.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker spoke to “CBS Mornings” hours after the FBI launched an announcement calling the standoff a “terrorism-related matter during which the Jewish group was focused.”

Cytron-Walker stated that within the final hour of Saturday’s standoff, it appeared the assailant, British nationwide Malik Faisal Akram, “wasn’t getting what he needed.”

“It did not look good, it did not sound good,” Cytron-Walker stated. “We have been terrified.”

He stated he noticed a chance and made positive the opposite two remaining hostages have been prepared. The exit was not far-off, he stated.

“I informed them to go,” he stated. “I threw a chair on the gunman and I headed for the door. And all three of us have been in a position to get out with out even a shot being fired.”

Akram, 44, was killed after an FBI SWAT crew swept into the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville. Authorities have supplied no particulars on who shot Akram, saying that’s a part of the continuing investigation. 

The transatlantic probe intensified with the arrest of two youngsters in Britain late Sunday, though particulars of their alleged involvement weren’t instantly launched. The FBI stated the Joint Terrorism Activity Drive was dealing with the case – and that stopping terrorism was the company’s “No. 1 precedence.”

“We by no means lose sight of the risk extremists pose to the Jewish group and to different spiritual, racial and ethnic teams,” the assertion stated. “We now have had an in depth and enduring relationship with the Jewish group for a few years.”

The FBI’s newest assertion differed from remarks instantly following the standoff when the bureau’s Dallas chief stated the assailant’s calls for have been “particularly targeted on points not related to the Jewish group.” Investigators stated Akram expressed help for Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist serving 86 years in a Texas jail for trying to homicide U.S. navy personnel in Afghanistan greater than a decade in the past.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., stated Sunday that it was “disturbing” to listen to the FBI downplay the hyperlink to antisemitism.

“I hope the FBI will rethink the assertion as a result of it’s well-known that at her trial Siddiqui, also referred to as ‘Woman al-Qaeda,’ was a raging anti-Semite who demanded that jurors be genetically examined for Jewish blood,” Graham tweeted. “This assertion by the FBI appears ill-conceived and ill-timed.”

TEENS ARRESTED: British police arrest 2 teenagers in relation to Texas hostage standoff; FBI identifies assailant

The Anti-Defamation League applauded the FBI’s efforts but additionally requested that the connection to antisemitism be absolutely investigated.

“There isn’t a doubt, given what we all know to date, that the hostage-taker selected his goal rigorously,” the league stated in an announcement. “We urge legislation enforcement and prosecutors to analyze the position antisemitism could have performed in motivating the suspect.”

STANDOFF ENDS: Texas synagogue hostages protected after hourslong standoff

In its newest assertion, the FBI additionally referred to its protracted negotiations with Akram who “spoke repeatedly” about Siddiqui. She was detained in 2008 by Afghan authorities who discovered notes referring to a “mass casualty assault” presumably concentrating on New York. When U.S. officers tried to interview Siddiqui in Ghazni, Afghanistan, she seized an Military officer’s weapon and shot at an officer and different members of the interview crew. 

She was dropped at New York for trial. Siddiqui informed the decide she needed the jurors to endure genetic testing.

“If they’ve a Zionist or Israeli background . . . they’re all mad at me,” Siddiqui informed the decide. “They need to be excluded if you wish to be truthful.” 

Siddiqui is incarcerated on the Federal Medical Middle-Carswell jail in Fort Value, lower than 25 miles from the synagogue.

Not one of the 4 hostages in Saturday’s assault was injured. Akram’s brother, Gulbar, launched an announcement to Sky Information saying relations spent hours speaking to his brother through the siege. Though the assailant was “affected by psychological well being points we have been assured that he wouldn’t hurt the hostages,” Gulbar Akram stated.

Cytron-Walker on Sunday expressed gratitude to legislation enforcement for his or her efforts at ending the standoff.

“I’m grateful and stuffed with appreciation for the entire vigils and prayers and love and help, the entire legislation enforcement and first responders who cared for us, the entire safety coaching that helped save us,” he wrote in a Fb put up. “I’m grateful that we made it out. I’m grateful to be alive.”

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