Man Takes Hostages at Texas Synagogue During Shabbat Services

·2 min read

Update 8:30 p.m.: One of the four hostages at Congregation Beth Israel was released shortly after 5:00 p.m., the Colleyville Police Department announced.

The hostage was en route to be reunited with his family, and did not require medical attention, police said.

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A man took a rabbi and three other people hostage inside a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, during Shabbat services on Saturday.

It is unclear to what extent the alleged hostage-taker is armed, although he claimed to have several bombs at multiple locations, the source familiar with the matter told ABC.

“We are currently conducting SWAT operations around the 6100 block of Pleasant Run Rd. All residents in the immediate area are being evacuated. Please avoid the area,” Colleyville police stated on Twitter on Saturday.

That address corresponds to the location of Congregation Beth Israel. The department later said the situation was “ongoing” and asked residents to continue to keep clear.

Colleyville police sergeant Dara Nelson said FBI negotiators had contacted the suspect.

“The FBI negotiators are the ones who have contact with the person in the building,” Nelson told CNN. There is currently “no threat to the general public.”

Commenters on a Facebook livestream of Shabbat services at the synagogue said a man had taken people hostage inside the building. The man ranted about his sister, Islam, his children, and his belief that he is going to die, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“If anyone tries to enter this building, I’m telling you … everyone will die,” the man said. “I’m going to die. Don’t cry about me.”

The man was heard calling for the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who was found guilty in 2010 of attempting to kill U.S. military officers while in custody in Afghanistan in 2008, a law enforcement official told the Associated Press. Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years in prison and is currently imprisoned at Carswell Air Force Base, near Fort Worth.

Federal and state officials said they were monitoring the situation.

President Biden “has been briefed about the developing hostage situation in the Dallas area. He will continue to receive updates from his senior team as the situation develops,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki wrote on Twitter.

“The Texas Dept. of Public Safety is on the scene of the tense hostage situation in Colleyville, Texas. They are working with local and federal teams to achieve the best and safest outcome,” Texas governor Greg Abbott posted to Twitter.

Texas senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz said they were monitoring the situation, while Representative Beth Van Duyne, who represents the district where the synagogue is located, said she is “praying for safety and quick resolution for all involved in Colleyville today.”

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