NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) — Two men have been arrested in the UK cities of Birmingham and Manchester as part of the investigation into the North Texas synagogue hostage standoff, Greater Manchester Police said in a statement.
The men remain in custody for questioning as UK officers in a counterterrorism unit support US authorities in probing the incident that has put American Jewish communities on edge. The FBI is investigating Saturday's standoff as "a terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted," the bureau has said.
The FBI identified Malik Faisal Akram, a British national, as the man who held four people hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in a more than 10-hour standoff. An FBI team killed Akram after one hostage was released and three others escaped.
According to UK officials, Akram had been known to security services in the country and had been the subject of a brief investigation in 2020. That investigation was closed when authorities determined the 44-year-old to no longer be a threat.
In late December, Akram arrived in the US on a tourist visa via New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. He later spent time in homeless shelters across North Texas before the attack in Colleyville.
Investigators said they believe Akram was motivated in the hostage-taking by a desire to see the release of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, who is serving an 86-year federal prison sentence in Fort Worth. She was not involved in the Colleyville standoff, her attorney said.
- New Details On Texas Synagogue Hostage Taker Malik Faisal Akram And Possible Accomplices Arrested In England
Two teenagers, both Akram's sons, arrested Sunday in south Manchester were released without charge on Tuesday, according to PA Media, a UK-based news agency.
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