December 5, 2022

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The FBI raided a Texas synagogue to free hostages, and the gunman was killed

KOLLIVELLY, Texas, Jan. 15 (Reuters) – An FBI hostage rescue team arrived Saturday night in Texas to release three remaining hostages at a synagogue in Colville, Texas. .

All of the hostages were released safely on Saturday night and the gunman was pronounced dead at the scene, Colville Police Chief Michael Miller told a news conference.

Authorities say the gunman initially held four people hostage in congressional Beth Israel, including the rabbi. Six hours later a hostage was released unharmed.

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Correspondents reported hearing explosions, perhaps flashbanks, and gunfire shortly before Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the end of the crisis.

“Prayers have been answered. All the hostages are safe,” Abbott said on Twitter. The FBI said it had confirmed the identity of the gunman, but said it would not release it. The FBI has refused to confirm the cause of his death, saying it is still under investigation.

The Coleville Police Department said it first responded to the synagogue with SWAT teams in response to emergency calls starting at 10:41 a.m. during the Shabat service, which airs online. FBI negotiators soon opened up with the man, who said he wanted to talk to a woman in a federal prison.

No injuries were reported among the hostages.

For the first few hours, I was able to hear the person talking unilaterally when a phone call appeared during a Facebook livestream of a service of the Reformed synagogue in Coleville, about 16 miles (26 km) northeast. Of Fort Worth. Livestream disconnected EST (2000 GMT) at 3 p.m.

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Before the end of the livestream, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that the man had been heard talking and talking about religion and his sister. The newspaper said it did not want to see anyone hurt and that he could hear the person repeating that he believed he was going to die.

Revealing the crisis, President Joe Biden praised the “courageous work” of state, local and federal law enforcement in releasing hostages.

During live broadcast services in Goliville, Texas, USA on January 15, 2022, emergency responders are seen near a synagogue where a person is said to have taken people hostage. REUTERS / Shelby Tauber

“We will learn more about the motives of the hostages in the days to come. But let me be clear to anyone who wants to spread hatred – we will stand up against anti-Semitism and the rise of terrorism in this country.” He said in a statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Naphtali Bennett Said He prayed for the safety of the hostages.

Barry Clomps, a member of the council since its inception in 1999, said he had joined the livestream.

“It was horrible to hear and see,” Clombus said in a phone interview.

A U.S. official told ABC News that the hostages were the brother of Pakistani neuroscientist Afia Siddiqui, who was serving 86 years in prison in 2010 for shooting dead soldiers and FBI agents. He demands her release.

Siddiqui is being held at a federal prison in the Fort Worth area. The lawyer representing Siddiqui, Marwa Elpiali, told CNN that the man was not Siddiqui’s brother. He appealed to the man to release the hostages, saying that the Siddiqui family had condemned his “horrific” actions.

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The Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group of American Muslim lawyers, has condemned the man’s actions.

“This recent antisemitic attack on Jewish Americans worshiping in a synagogue is a pure evil,” CAIR said in a statement.

Clombus said he was unaware of any significant threats to the council.

“We do not have a security officer on staff, but I have to say I have a very good relationship with the local police,” he said.

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Report by Shelby Dopper and Aram Roston, Daphne Saletakis, Jonathan Allen and Valerie Volkovici in Colliville, Texas; Additional Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Marys Richter; Editing by Jonathan Odyssey, Leslie Adler and Tom Hawk

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.