FBI finally admits Texas synagogue siege WAS an anti-Semitic terror attack after first claiming it was 'not specifically related to the Jewish community'

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FBI initially said in the hours after the attack it was not directed against JewsThey backtracked late Sunday after the statement provoked outrageThey finally admitted 'the Jewish community was targeted' in the terror attackMalik Faisal Akram from the UK was killed after holding four people hostage

The FBI has finally admitted the Texas synagogue siege was an anti-Semitic terror attack after initially claiming it was not directly targeting Jews.

Malik Faisal Akram, from Blackburn in the UK, held four people hostage, including a rabbi, for ten hours at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, Saturday night.

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Speaking Saturday after the attack, which ended with the death of Akram in a hail of bullets, FBI Special Agent Matt DeSarno said: ‘We do believe from our engaging with this subject that he was singularly focused on one issue, and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community. But we’re continuing to work to find motive.’

The comments caused a huge backlash, with Republican Lindsey Graham firing back at the ‘disturbing’ remarks from investigators and demanding further explanation.

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In a statement late Sunday night, the FBI backtracked and admitted the attack was ‘a terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted’.

Hours earlier, President Joe Biden told reporters ‘it was an act of terror’.

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Malik Faisal Akram, 44, (pictured) was shot dead by the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team after holding four hostages for more than 10 hours at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas on Saturday

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, (pictured) was shot dead by the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team after holding four hostages for more than 10 hours at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas on Saturday 

The FBI has finally admitted the Texas synagogue siege was an anti-Semitic terror attack after initially claiming it was not directly targeting Jews. Pictured: the synagogue on Sunday

The FBI has finally admitted the Texas synagogue siege was an anti-Semitic terror attack after initially claiming it was not directly targeting Jews. Pictured: the synagogue on Sunday

Akram, from Blackburn in the UK, held four people hostage, including a rabbi, for ten hours at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville. Pictured: SWAT members during the siege

Akram, from Blackburn in the UK, held four people hostage, including a rabbi, for ten hours at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville. Pictured: SWAT members during the siege

Akram allegedly flew to the US two weeks ago, lived in homeless shelters and bought a gun on the street. 

He was calling for the release of terrorist Aafia Siddiqqui from a prison in nearby Fort Worth in Texas.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker was leading the Sabbath service and was among Akram’s four hostages. 

The FBI also initially said there was ‘no indication’ that anyone else was involved in the siege, but two teenagers were arrested over the incident by anti-terror officers in Manchester, England, last night. 

The pair, both believed to be under 18, cannot be identified for legal reasons and are still in custody.

Akram’s brother Gulbar issued a statement on behalf of the family last night in which he told of their ‘devastation’ and revealed how relatives had been in contact with Malik during his attack at the police’s request but could not convince him to surrender. 

The siege began when Akram entered the building as it was livestreaming a service, shouting that he had weapons and ‘backpacks of explosives’ on him.

He demanded the release of jailed female terrorist Siddiqu – known as Lady Al Qaeda, referring to her as his ‘sister’ but the pair are not related. 

From inside the Texas synagogue, the assailant told a SWAT team: ‘If anyone tries to enter this building, I’m telling you… everyone will die.’ 

Leaders from the Islamic Center of Southlake, who have worked closely with Rabbi Cytron-Walker to help unite the faithful in the Dallas-Fort Worth area came out to the scene to denounce the attack and pray for their friend.

‘We want to see him again as soon as possible,’ said Shahzad Mahmud, the former president of the Islamic Center. ‘We just want to make sure he goes back to his family,’

Speaking Saturday after the attack, which ended with the death of Akram in a hail of bullets, FBI Special Agent Matt DeSarno said he did not believe it was an anti-Semitic attack

Speaking Saturday after the attack, which ended with the death of Akram in a hail of bullets, FBI Special Agent Matt DeSarno said he did not believe it was an anti-Semitic attack

Lindsey Graham has fired back at the FBI after appearing to dismiss a terror attack at a Texas synagogue as not being directly targeting Jewish people

Lindsey Graham has fired back at the FBI after appearing to dismiss a terror attack at a Texas synagogue as not being directly targeting Jewish people

'It is very disturbing to hear from the FBI they do not believe the hostage taker’s demands had anything to do with the Jewish faith,' Graham tweeted

‘It is very disturbing to hear from the FBI they do not believe the hostage taker’s demands had anything to do with the Jewish faith,’ Graham tweeted


One of the hostages was freed early in the incident and the other three fled to safety shortly before it ended.

Dramatic footage revealed the moment two hostages ran out of the temple followed by Akram who chased them with a gun before quickly retreating back inside and closing the door after spotting the nearby SWAT team. 

Dozens of agents then breached h the synagogue as gunshots could be heard.  

In a series of tweets, South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham vented his frustration with the FBI appearing to ignore the fact Saturday’s attack targeted a religion that has long been subjected to violent and often murderous anti-Semitic hatred. 

‘It is very disturbing to hear from the FBI they do not believe the hostage taker’s demands had anything to do with the Jewish faith,’ Graham began.  

‘Apparently the FBI believes the hostage taker randomly selected a synagogue to demand the release of al-Qaeda operative and facilitator Aafia Siddiqui,’ he continued.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker (pictured) was leading the Sabbath service and was among Akram's four hostages

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker (pictured) was leading the Sabbath service and was among Akram’s four hostages

‘I hope the FBI will reconsider the statement because it is well known that at her trial Siddiqui, also known as ‘Lady al-Qaeda,’ was a raging anti-Semite who demanded that jurors be genetically tested for Jewish blood,’ Graham added in a follow up tweet on Sunday. 

‘This statement by the FBI seems ill-conceived and ill-timed. I look forward to further explanation from the FBI,’ Graham concluded. 

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss also took issue with the FBI statement, and warned that wherever Jews were attack, the entire community felt the affects – especially in the wake of rising anti-Semitic attacks in recent years. 

‘They are us. There’s no distinction. Anywhere they are in danger, we are,’ Hausman-Weiss, the founding rabbi of the Congregation Shma Koleinu, said Sunday morning.

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss, pictured, took issue with the FBI statement, and warned that wherever Jews were attack, the entire community felt the affects - especially in the wake of rising anti-Semitic attacks in recent years

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss, pictured, took issue with the FBI statement, and warned that wherever Jews were attack, the entire community felt the affects – especially in the wake of rising anti-Semitic attacks in recent years

Social media users called the FBI 'a joke' and said the organization should be 'defunded and eliminated'

Social media users called the FBI ‘a joke’ and said the organization should be ‘defunded and eliminated’ 

People on social media were also quick to criticize DeSarno’s statement and some even called for the FBI to be ‘defunded and eliminated.’  

‘Just a coincidence that he targeted a house of worship used by this one particular religious minority, a coincidence that seems to happen an awful lot throughout history,’ media correspondent Gregg Carlstrom tweeted. 

‘I am sure the FBI will clean this up shortly, but until then, worth stating the obvious: The gunman did not travel thousands of miles to terrorize some Mormons. He sought out a synagogue and took it hostage over his grievances. That’s targeting Jews, and there’s a word for that,’ journalist Yair Rosenberg tweeted.

‘The FBI is a joke. A dangerous joke,’ military intelligence analyst Sebastian Gorka noted.

Aafia Siddiqui is see here in an undated photo after her graduation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her brother is demanding her release from prison while holding hostages at a Texas synagogue.

 Akram held the synagogue hostage in anger over the imprisonment of Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui who attempted to kill US soldiers 

Data from the FBI revealed that 58 percent of the US Jewish population are considered to be targets in religious based hate crimes.

‘Hate crimes are up across the country, but considering that Jews make up 2% of the American population and yet nearly 60% of all hate crimes are anti-Semitic, there is definitely an issue going on,’ Republican Texas. Rep Beth Van Duyne told Fox News.   

Following the aftermath of the shooting, different places of worship have begun enacting heightened security measures as a precaution.

‘It is really frightening and scary that the Jewish day of rest, the Sabbath, was disturbed for this particular synagogue of course and really for Jews all over the world,’ Rabbi Brian Strauss with the Congregation Beth Yeshurun in Houston told Fox.

‘This is a day of rest, a day to thank God for all the good of our life, to be with our friends and family.

‘Thank God everything worked out for the best, but it’s frightening for all of us that attend places of worship in this great country.’ 

The four hostages were held at the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue for 10 hours before Akram was killed

The four hostages were held at the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue for 10 hours before Akram was killed 

Police were arrived at around 11am with around 200 law enforcement officers reported at the scene

Police were arrived at around 11am with around 200 law enforcement officers reported at the scene

Shortly after 5pm , a hostage was escorted out of the synagogue

Shortly after 5pm , a hostage was escorted out of the synagogue

All hostages were released after Akram was killed and were found to be unharmed

All hostages were released after Akram was killed and were found to be unharmed 

The standoff took place at the Congregation Beth Israel, in Colleyville, just 27 miles from Dallas

The standoff took place at the Congregation Beth Israel, in Colleyville, just 27 miles from Dallas

Strauss added that he is planning to redevelop the security system at the synagogue to ensure their safety. 

Biden said Sunday: ‘I don’t have all the facts and neither does the Attorney General, but allegedly the assertion was he got the weapons on the street, that he purchased them when he landed.

‘And it turns out there were apparently no bombs that we know of, even though he said that there were bombs there as well.  

‘He apparently spent the first night in a homeless shelter — I don’t have all the details, so I’m reluctant to go into much more detail, but allegedly he purchased it on the street. What that means, I don’t know if he purchased it from an individual in the homeless shelter or a homeless community.’

Biden said he has yet to contact Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who was leading the Sabbath service and was among Akram’s four hostages.

‘I’ll put a call into the Rabbi. We missed one another on the way up here, but rest assured, we are focused. We are focused,’ the president said. 

‘The attorney general is focused that we deal with these kinds of acts. And thank God we had such professional FBI as well as local cooperation. I was told it was incredible, so I just wanted to let you know that.’



Biden indicated that he would have more to say and more information to share during his planned Wednesday press conference

Biden indicated that he would have more to say and more information to share during his planned Wednesday press conference

Biden released a statement in response to the shooting

Biden released a statement in response to the shooting 

Asked if the incident meant a new push to restrict firearm access, Biden said: ‘The idea of background checks are critical, but you can’t stop something like this if someone is on the street buying something from somebody else on the street.’ 

He indicated he would have more to say at his upcoming Wednesday press conference.   

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that an angry man could be heard ranting and talking about religion at times during the livestream, which didn’t show what was happening inside the synagogue.

Shortly before 2pm, the man said, ‘You got to do something. I don’t want to see this guy dead.’ Moments later, the feed cut out. 

A spokesperson for Meta Platforms Inc., the corporate successor to Facebook Inc., later confirmed that Facebook had removed the video.

Multiple people heard the hostage-taker refer to Siddiqui as his ‘sister’ on the livestream. But John Floyd, board chair for the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations – the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy group – said Siddiqui´s brother, Mohammad Siddiqui, was not involved.

‘We want the assailant to know that his actions are wicked and directly undermine those of us who are seeking justice for Dr. Aafia,’ said Floyd, who also is legal counsel for Mohammad Siddiqui.  

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker (pictured with his wife Adena) was one of the hostages in the synagogue at the time.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker (pictured with his wife Adena) was one of the hostages in the synagogue at the time. 

Aafia, now 49, was jailed for 86 years after being arrested in Afghanistan in 2008 for the attempted murder of a US army captain.

The Pakistani-born neuroscientist was found with two kilos of poison sodium cyanide and plans for chemical attacks on New York’s Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building.

She was handed to the Americans and convicted of attempted murder two years later in a US court.

But her hatred for the US was so strong that during her interrogation she grabbed a rifle from one of her guards and shot at them shouting: ‘Death to Americans.’

She came to the US in 1991 and won a partial scholarship to MIT, where she was a biology major. 

Siddiqui was sent by her neurosurgeon father from Pakistan to study in the U.S. on her own and won a partial scholarship to study at the prestigious Cambridge school.

She arrived there in 1991 having been living with her brother in Texas, for a year where she studied at the University of Houston and gave regular speeches on Islam.

During one she told the crowd: ‘The hijab is not a restriction. It allows a woman to be judged by her content, not by her packaging, by what is written on the pages, not the pretty artwork on the cover’

In 1993, she wanted to do ‘something to help our Muslim brothers and sisters’ even if it meant breaking the law.

That same year, as she and some friends debated how to raise money for Muslims being killed during the Bosnian War, one of them joked that they didn’t want to go on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. 

She then completed a 10-hour NRA shooting course at Braintree Rifle & Pistol Club on her own and urged other Muslims to join her. 

She moved to Texas to be near her brother, the reported hostage taker, who is listed as an architect in Houston.

The mother of three was radicalized after the 9/11 terror attacks, divorcing her husband and moving back to Pakistan, where she remarried Ammar Al-Baluchi, the nephew of 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

What happened in Pakistan before her arrest is unclear and even during her U.S. trial judge Richard Berman said he did not know what she was doing.

But even now such is her importance as a symbol of defiance to the West that Islamic State fighters publicly stated they wanted to swap her for James Foley, the American photojournalist they executed earlier this year.

Siddiqui declined to be interviewed when approached by the Boston Globe at the Federal Prison in Fort Worth, Texas, where she is being held.        


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