The suspect would be demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a neuroscientist sentenced to 86 years for alleged links to Al Qaeda
The hostages that a man has taken in the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Dallas, in the US state of Texas, have already been released.
“They are out and safe,” Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, announced through his Twitter profile.
The US network CNN reported that “a loud bang was heard, followed by a short burst of gunfire from the direction of the synagogue.”
“Although all the hostages are now safe, the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue remains an active crime scene, with bomb technicians clearing the scene,” Colleyville Police Chief Michael Miller told a news conference. according to CNN.
Reason for kidnapping
Security forces have assured the US network CNN that investigators estimate that the individual who has kidnapped several people in a Colleyville synagogue may have been motivated by the desire to free Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist suspected of having links with Al Qaeda, who is serving an 86-year sentence in a federal prison in Texas after being convicted of trying to kill US servicemen.
Aafia Siddiqui’s conviction has been the subject of regular protests in the United States and abroad. The Aafia Foundation, a group that bears her name, has organized demonstrations and has claimed that she was assaulted in prison last year.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki posted this Saturday night on her Twitter profile that President Joe Biden has been informed and is receiving updates on what happened.
The Prime Minister of Israel, Naftali Bennett, has also reacted on the social network and has said that he was closely following the situation: “we pray for the safety of the hostages and the rescuers.”
The NGO Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the most important Muslim rights organization in the United States, condemned the kidnapping on Saturday.
“This latest anti-Semitic attack on a place of worship is an unacceptable act of evil,” said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, deputy national director of CAIR, in a statement.
“We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community and pray that the police authorities are able to quickly and safely release the hostages. No cause can justify or excuse this crime,” he added.
Protection of Jewish places
The Los Angeles Police Department has said via its Twitter account that it is increasing police patrols around synagogues in Los Angeles after the hostage situation at a synagogue in the Colleyville neighborhood in Texas.
“We are working with our federal partners, increasing patrols around synagogues in Los Angeles as a precaution, and conducting community outreach to ensure the safety of Angelenos,” police said on social media.
For its part, the New York Police have also deployed resources this Saturday in “key Jewish locations” after the hostage situation in Texas, said Eric Adams, the mayor of New York, on his Twitter profile.
The Dallas Police have reported at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday of the development of “SWAT operations” (Special Weapons and Tactics) at 6100 Pleasant Run Street. In that place is the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue.
All the residents of the area have been evacuated and the Police have asked the population to avoid the area.
No injuries have been reported, as confirmed by Katie Chaumont, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Dallas.
The live broadcast of the Sabbath ceremony was removed from the synagogue’s Facebook page shortly before 2 p.m. In the previous images, a man could be seen speaking in an angry tone at times.