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Texas police respond to SWAT situation at synagogue, hostage reports

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COLLEYVILLE, Texas (AP) – Authorities say a man was taken hostage Saturday during services at a Texas synagogue, where the suspect could be heard screaming in a loud voice. the live stream before the feed was cut.

Colleyville Police Department tweeted Saturday afternoon, it was conducting SWAT operations at the address of Congregation Beth Israel, northeast of Fort Worth.

At least four hostages are believed to be inside the synagogue, according to two law enforcement officials who were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation and who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity. . One of the officials said the synagogue is believed to be among the hostages.

Authorities are still trying to determine the exact motive for the attack. The hostage-taker asked for the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist suspected of having ties to al-Qaeda, one of the law enforcement officials said. killed US military officers while in custody in Afghanistan. Siddiqui is in a federal prison in Texas.

Officials said investigators had not yet identified the man and warned that the information was based on a preliminary investigation as the situation was still evolving rapidly.

FBI Dallas spokeswoman Katie Chaumont said an FBI SWAT team was also at the scene and crisis negotiators were in contact with someone inside the synagogue. But she could not say whether the person was armed and she declined to describe what the person had told authorities, citing sensitive operational reasons.

Police were first called to the synagogue around 11 a.m. and people were evacuated from the vicinity shortly after, Chaumont said.

There were no reports of injuries, Chaumont said.

“It’s an evolving situation and we have a lot of law enforcement on the scene,” Chaumont said.

Law enforcement blocked entrance to the streets around the synagogue on Saturday afternoon.

The services have been live on the synagogue’s Facebook page for some time. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that an angry man can sometimes be heard shouting and talking about religion during the live stream, which does not indicate what is happening inside the synagogue.

Not long before 2 p.m., the man said, “You have to do something. I don’t want to see this guy die.” After a while, the feed was cut off.

The man, who used profanities, repeatedly mentioned his sister, Islam, and that he thought he was going to die, Star-Telegram reported.

Victoria Francis, of Texas, told the Associated Press she watched the live stream about an hour before it was cut. She said she heard the man against America and insisted he had a bomb.

“He was just everywhere on the map. He’s pretty cranky and the more irritable he gets, the more threats he’ll make, like ‘I’m the bomb man. If you make a mistake, it’s all your fault. ‘ And he would laugh at it,” she said. “He is clearly in a state of extreme distress.”

Francis, who lives in Rhome, Texas and grew up near Colleyville, followed up after she read on Facebook that there was a hostage situation at the synagogue. She said it appeared the man was on the phone with the police department, with the rabbi and another person trying to help negotiate.

Francis said: When the live stream was cut, the man became very angry.

“It was a scary situation. I hope it ends in the best possible way, obviously no one gets hurt,” she said. “Especially in this field, you never think something like this is going to come home until it happens.”

Colleyville, a community of about 26,000 people, is about 15 miles (23 km) northeast of Fort Worth.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted Saturday night that President Joe Biden has been briefed and is receiving updates from senior officials.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he was closely monitoring the situation. “We pray for the safety of the hostages and rescuers,” he wrote on Twitter.

Israel’s consul general in Houston is on his way to the scene of the incident, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement, adding that Israeli officials “are in close contact with law enforcement agencies.” of America”.

This is an evolving story.

https://fox2now.com/news/national/texas-police-respond-to-swat-situation-at-synagogue-hostages-reported/ Texas police respond to SWAT situation at synagogue, hostage reports

Huynh Nguyen

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