Hostage kidnapped at Texas synagogue freed

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One of the kidnapped hostages in a synagogue from Texas (USA) was released this Saturday in good health after being held for more than six hours, while the FBI continued negotiating with the suspect of the crime, reported the local police.

Shortly after 5:00 p.m. local time, “a male hostage was released without injury,” and was expected to be reunited with his family “as soon as possible,” the statement said. Colleyville Police Department, a city located 43 kilometers northwest of Dallas.

The Police did not provide more details about the number of hostages that remain inside or the circumstances of the release of that first hostage, and only assured that the FBI is still negotiating with the suspect.

According to a police source consulted by CNN, at the beginning of the kidnapping there were at least four hostages inside the synagogue of the Beth Yisrael Congregation, in Colleyville, and one of them was a rabbi.

According to US officials quoted by CNN, ABC and NBC, the suspect claims to be the brother of the Pakistani scientist. Aafia Siddiqui, imprisoned at a US air base near Colleyville.

The kidnapper calls for the release of his sister, who is serving an 86-year prison sentence for trying to kill US soldiers and FBI agents while in detention in Afghanistan.

The hostage-taking occurred during a religious service at the synagogue of the Beth Israel congregation, which was being broadcast live on the institution’s website on Facebook, the local newspaper “Fort Worth Star-Telegram” reported.

More than eight thousand people connected to the video of the live broadcast once the first information emerged on social networks about what happened, until the broadcast was finally suspended without the situation inside the synagogue having been resolved.

The video did not show what was happening inside the building, but an angry man could be heard talking about religion, insisting that he did not want to hurt anyone and that he was going to die, according to the “Star-Telegram”.

Before the video stopped broadcasting, what appeared to be negotiations over the phone between the suspect and the agents were heard, the newspaper said.

US President Joe Biden has received information about the situation in Colleyville and will keep an eye on developments in the coming hours, his spokesperson, Jen Psaki, said on his Twitter account.

The Colleyville Police Department claimed on its Twitter account that it had an elite SWAT operations team deployed to the block where the synagogue is located, confirmed that it had evacuated the surrounding area, and asked not to approach the area.

The event has caused police protection to be reinforced in several synagogues and Jewish institutions in large cities in the country, such as Dallas, New York or Los Angeles (California), to detect any possible anti-Semitic threat derived from what happened in Colleyville.

EFE

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