I threw a chair to escape Texas synagogue hostage-taker Malik Faisal Akram after I invited him in for tea

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A TEXAS Rabbi made a desperate bid to escape the synagogue hostage-taker, Malik Faisal Akram, after inviting him in for some tea.

The FBI named Akram, a British citizen, as the synagogue gunman who held members of the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville captive for almost 12 hours on Saturday.

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I threw a chair to escape Texas synagogue hostage-taker Malik Faisal Akram after I invited him in for tea

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker was among the four people held hostage at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, on Saturday Credit: Congregation Beth Israel

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I threw a chair to escape Texas synagogue hostage-taker Malik Faisal Akram after I invited him in for tea

British citizen Malik Faisal Akram was named as the suspect Credit: FBI

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Akram was shot dead after FBI agents stormed the building – as the four hostages, a rabbi and three worshippers, were unharmed.

After the siege, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker explained to CBS News that he opened the synagogue's doors to Akram because he thought he needed shelter.

Cytron-Walker explained that the suspect was heard knocking on the window of Congregation Beth Israel, welcomed him in, and made Akram a cup of tea.

But during worship, while his back turned, Rabbi Cytron-Walker “heard a click” that turned out to be Akram’s gun.

The Rabbi explained how the situation was “terrifying and overwhelming.”

“It was terrifying. It was overwhelming and we're still processing. It's been a lot. The last hour or so of the standoff, he wasn't getting what he wanted.

“It didn't look good. It didn't sound good. We were terrified,” Cytron-Walker said.

The Rabbi explained how he waited for “an opportunity where Akram wasn't in a good position” to take action.

Read our Texas synagogue hostage situation live blog for the latest news and updates…

'READY TO GO'

Cytron-Walker said he made sure the other two hostages with him were “ready to go.”

“I made sure that the two gentlemen who were with me that they were ready to go. The exit wasn't too far away. I told them to go, I threw a chair at the gunman, and I headed for the door.

“And all three of us were able to get out without a shot being fired,” the Rabbi said.

“When your life is threatened, you need to do whatever you can to get to safety. You need to do whatever you can to get out,” Cytron-Walker said while crediting security training the congregation had received prior.

Cytron-Walker said members of his congregation had taken active shooter courses with the FBI, the Colleyville Police Department, the Anti-Defamation League and the Secure Community Network.

“They really teach you in those moments that when your life is threatened, you need to do whatever you can to get to safety, you need to do whatever you can to get out,” he added.

SYNAGOGUE SIEGE

During the siege, the British national demanded to speak to convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui.

Akram is from the town of Blackburn in Lancashire, England, and arrived in the US about two weeks ago, flying into JFK International Airport in New York, CBS reported, citing law enforcement officials.

It remains unclear if Akram was on any watch list, the outlet reported.

A spokesperson for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said it is “aware of the death of a British man in Texas and are in contact with the local authorities.”

FBI officials believe that Akram, 44, acted alone, according to Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno of the FBI Dallas Field Office.

On Sunday, anti-terrorism cops in the UK announced they arrested two teens in connection with the standoff.

I threw a chair to escape Texas synagogue hostage-taker Malik Faisal Akram after I invited him in for tea

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker explained he opened the synagogue's doors to Akram because he thought he needed shelter Credit: Sky News

I threw a chair to escape Texas synagogue hostage-taker Malik Faisal Akram after I invited him in for tea

During the siege, Akram demanded to speak to convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui Credit: AP

I threw a chair to escape Texas synagogue hostage-taker Malik Faisal Akram after I invited him in for tea

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker helped two others escape the hostage situation after he threw a chair at the suspect Credit: EPA

“As part of the ongoing investigation into the attack that took place at a Synagogue in Texas on 15 January 2022, Officers from Counter Terror Policing North West have made two arrests in relation to the incident.

“Two teenagers were detained in South Manchester this evening. They remain in custody for questioning.

“CTP North West and CTP International operations continues to assist the investigation being led by the US authorities, and police forces in the region are liaising with local communities to put in place any measures to provide further reassurance.”

'DEVASTATION'

In a statement, Akram's brother Gulbar told of the family's “devastation” and revealed they had spent hours “liaising with Faisal” during the siege and tried to convince him to surrender.

But Gulbar said, “there was nothing we could have said” to get him to give himself up.

He said: “We are absolutely devastated as a family. We can't say much now as there is an ongoing FBI investigation.

“We would like to say that we as a family do not condone any of his actions and would like to sincerely apologize wholeheartedly to all the victims involved in the unfortunate incident.

“Sitting in the incident room all last night at Greenbank liaising with Faisal, the negotiators, FBI, etc.

“Although my brother was suffering from mental health issues, we were confident that he would not harm hostages.

“There was nothing we could have said to him or done that would have convinced him to surrender.”

He added: “We would also like to add that any attack on any human being be it a Jew, Christian or Muslim etc is wrong and should always be condemned.

“It is absolutely inexcusable for a Muslim to attack a Jew or for any Jew to attack a Muslim, Christian, Hindu vice versa etc.”

According to Sky News, Gulbar was “trying to get him to back down and to ensure that no harm was caused.”

His family have also demanded to know how Akram was allowed into America despite a long criminal record and mental health problems.

Gulbar told Sky News said: “He's known to police. Got a criminal record. How was he allowed to get a visa and acquire a gun?”

Biden described the incident as an “act of terror” and answered questions from reporters during a hunger relief event in Philadelphia.

He said: “We don't have all the facts yet, but allegedly he purchased the weapons on the street after he landed.”

President Joe Biden said an investigation was underway to find out where Akram bought the guns from.

I threw a chair to escape Texas synagogue hostage-taker Malik Faisal Akram after I invited him in for tea

Akram was shot dead after FBI agents stormed the building Credit: AP

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