Law enforcement say at least four people are being held hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, a city situated in between Dallas and Fort Worth.
What are the details?
A rabbi and three congregants were taken hostage Saturday afternoon at the synagogue, ABC News reported. A massive law enforcement presence remains on scene and an FBI negotiator is talking with the suspect.
Police are not aware to what extent the suspect is armed, though he has claimed to have a bomb. None of the hostages are believed to be harmed.
ABC News reported that the suspect is claiming to be the brother of Aafia Siddiqui, a notorious terrorist who is incarcerated at nearby Carswell Air Force Base. Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years in federal prison in 2010 for conspiring to kill U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan. The suspect is reportedly demanding Siddiqui's freedom.
Foreign Policy explained more about Siddiqui:
[Siddiqui is] linked to al Qaeda and was convicted in 2010 of attempting to kill Americans in Afghanistan, would violate the administration’s policy of not granting concessions to terrorist groups, the officials concluded. It would also put a potentially dangerous fighter back on the street. Siddiqui ... who’s known in counterterrorism circles as "Lady al Qaeda," has been linked to 9/11 ringleader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and was once on the FBI’s most-wanted terrorists list.
Educated in the United States — she studied at M.I.T. and received a doctorate from Brandeis — Siddiqui was arrested in 2008 in Afghanistan carrying sodium cyanide, as well as documents describing how to make chemical weapons and dirty bombs and how to weaponize Ebola. When FBI and military officials tried to question Siddiqui, she grabbed a weapon left on the table in her interrogation room and fired upon them.
The suspect reportedly entered the synagogue and took hostages in the middle of a service, which was being livestreamed on Facebook, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
"The man has repeatedly mentioned his sister and Islam and used profanities. He was heard asking for his sister to be released from prison. At one point, another voice can be heard apparently talking on the phone to police," the newspaper reported. "The man has said a few times he didn’t want anyone hurt, and he has mentioned his children. He also said repeatedly he believes he is going to die."
The livestream video has since been taken down.