Two teens held in Manchester after Brit hostage taker killed by FBI in Texas synagogue

17 January 2022, 06:16 | Updated: 17 January 2022, 06:49

By Emma Soteriou

Two teenagers from Manchester are being held by police after a British hostage taker was killed by the FBI in a Texas synagogue.

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The pair were detained in South Manchester on Sunday evening, remaining in custody for questioning, Greater Manchester Police said.

It comes after a man was shot dead in Texas after taking four people hostage in synagogue in a 10-hour stand-off.

He was named by the FBI as British citizen Malik Faisal Akram, originally from Blackburn in Lancashire.

Akram is said to have demanded the release of Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, who was convicted of trying to kill US army officers in Afghanistan, and is in prison in Texas.

He was later killed in a "shooting incident" after the FBI entered the building at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, on Saturday, while all four hostages were unharmed.

US President Joe Biden called the incident "an act of terror", with UK police said to be working with authorities in America on the investigation.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss also condemned the "act of terrorism and anti-semitism".

Read more: Hostage-taking gunman killed by FBI in Texas synagogue named as Briton Malik Faisal Akram

Read more: Texas synagogue hostage taker shot dead as elite FBI team stormed building was British

Akram's family said they were "absolutely devastated" by what had happened and "do not condone any of his actions", according to a statement which was shared on the Blackburn Muslim Community Facebook page.

They said: "We would like to say that we as a family do not condone any of his actions and would like to sincerely apologise wholeheartedly to all the victims involved in the unfortunate incident."

The statement, attributed to his brother, Gulbar, said he had been involved in negotiating from the UK with his sibling during the ordeal, added that Akram "was suffering from mental health issues".

US officials believe Akram had a visa, arrived at JFK airport in New York around two weeks ago and bought a handgun used in the incident.

In an update to reporters on Sunday, Mr Biden said while he did not have all the details it was believed Akram had "got the weapons on the street", adding: "He purchased them when he landed."

He said there were "no bombs that we know of", and that Akram is thought to have "spent the first night in a homeless shelter".

During the incident - which saw police first called at 11am and ended with the release of the final hostages at around 9pm - the man could be heard ranting on a livestream in what appeared to be a British accent.

Reports say a live feed of the synagogue service showed the suspect speaking with an English accent, at one point saying: "What the f*** is wrong with America?"

He also said "you got to do something... I don't want to see this guy dead" and "don't cry for me, I’m going to die" just before the feed cut.

Meta, the company that owns Facebook, said it stopped the broadcast.

US President Joe Biden spoke about the hostage incident.
US President Joe Biden spoke about the hostage incident. Picture: Getty

Speaking to reporters after the incident, FBI special agent in charge Matt DeSarno said they believed Akram was "singularly focused on one issue and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community", adding that they would continue to "work to find motive".

Confirming that the hostage-taker had died, he said there would be "an independent investigation of the shooting incident".

The FBI is in contact with their legal attache offices in London and Israel for an investigation with "global reach", he said.