Muhammad Siddiqui, the brother of an al-Qaeda terrorist being held in Texas, has reportedly stormed into a Dallas synagogue while armed and has taken hostages while demanding his sibling’s release.
The crisis situation is unraveling at Congregation Beth Israel, a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. The gunman reportedly entered the synagogue during Saturday service and took at least four hostages, including a rabbi.
The suspect also claims explosives have been planted at the scene.
Apparently, the services were being live streamed to Facebook when the suspect entered.
Livestream clip inside Colleyville, Texas synagogue where a hostage situation was unfolding within the last hour. pic.twitter.com/ncgmZTGDnb
— crabcrawler (@crabcrawler1) January 15, 2022
Siddiqui is reportedly the brother of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, though authorities have not confirmed this.
The suspect is demanding to have his sister, Aafia Siddiqui, freed, an official told ABC News.
This woman has been incarcerated at Carswell Air Force Base near Forth Worth due to alleged ties to al-Qaeda. She was convicted of assault and attempted murder of a U.S. soldier in 2010 and sentenced to 86 years in prison, the outlet reports.
According to The Guardian, Aafia Siddiqui made anti-Semitic statements during her trial:
During a typically stormy hearing last Thursday, Siddiqui interrupted the judge, rebuked her own lawyers and made strident appeals to the packed courthouse. “I am boycotting this trial,” she declared. “I am innocent of all the charges and I can prove it, but I will not do it in this court.” Previously she had tried to fire her lawyers due to their Jewish background (she once wrote to the court that Jews are “cruel, ungrateful, back-stabbing” people) and demanded to speak with President Obama for the purpose of “making peace” with the Taliban. This time, though, she was ejected from the courtroom for obstruction. “Take me out. I’m not coming back,” she said defiantly.
Aafia Siddiqui is a “graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and PhD scholar in Neuroscience from Brandeis University.”
The fact that she became radicalized despite spending time in the West and participating in its vaunted institutions continues to perplex scholars.
According to The Atlantic Council, “She disappeared in 2003 from Karachi and was later found in Ghazni, Afghanistan in 2008.”
Ultimately, “She was arrested and charged with the attempted murder of US officials and was brought to the Southern District court in New York to face trial. She was sentenced to eighty-six years in the Carswell Medical Center, Texas.”
Police have announced that they are currently undergoing SWAT operations to secure the hostages.
According to police, at least four hostages including a rabbi remain inside the building at this time, per the AP.
As of 3:50 p.m. CT, the FBI is now on the scene undergoing their own SWAT operations.
The Secure Community Network, the “official safety and security organization of the Jewish community in North America,” believes that the hostages have not been harmed.
Police confirmed the same to WFAA, which reported that “Colleyville PD spokeswoman Sgt. Dara Nelson confirmed” that “no one has been injured inside of Congregation Beth Israel at this time.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made a statement declaring that the “Texas Dept. of Public Safety is on the scene of the tense hostage situation,” and that he will “continue to monitor the situation through DPS.”
Joe Biden’s White House also said it was closely monitoring the situation.
The situation remains ongoing at press time.
This is a breaking news story and may be updated with additional information as it becomes available.