UK intelligence investigating Texas hostage taker: report

The agency will now review the investigation.


British security services recently investigated a man held hostage at a synagogue in Texas but believed he was in no danger, media reports said on Tuesday.

US officials identified the detainee as 44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram, who was shot dead in a 10-hour siege in the small town of Colville on Saturday.

Britain’s MI5 domestic intelligence agency received information about Akram, who arrived from Blackburn in north-west England in 2020, prompting an investigation, several news outlets said, citing unnamed government sources.

But it was closed again after more than a month because of a lack of evidence that he was a threat, the report said. The agency will now review the investigation.

MI5 monitors approximately 3,000 jihadist suspects at any given time, and has investigated 40,000 individuals in total.

The four hostages – including a respected local rabbi, Charlie Citron-Walker – were all freed on Saturday night, bringing relief to the United States, where the Jewish community and Biden made renewed calls to fight anti-Semitism.

Biden declined to speculate on the motive, but appeared to confirm reports that the hostage-taker was seeking the release of Afiya Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist known as “Lady Al-Qaeda”. whose detention has been a cause for jihadists.

At one point the standoff involved 200 local, state and federal law enforcement officers largely around Collyville.

The incident raised questions as to why Akram, whose family said he had mental health problems and was known to have a criminal record, was allowed into the country late last year.

Several British media outlets reported that Akram was banned from a local court in Blackburn for remarks made to employees about the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States on the day of the attack.

Two teenagers were arrested on Sunday as part of a US investigation south of Manchester, about 21 miles (34 km) from Blackburn.

Counter Terrorism Policing North West said on Tuesday that the couple had been released without charge, and a property search was conducted in the area.

“CTP North West continues to assist with the investigation, which is being led by US officials,” said temporary assistant chief constable Dominic Sally.

“Overnight, there have been constructive meetings with allies in the United States.”

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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