Rabbi escaped Texas synagogue siege by throwing a chair at his British captor

18 January 2022, 06:50

The incident took place at the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas
The incident took place at the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. Picture: Getty

By Daisy Stephens

A rabbi who was taken hostage at a synagogue in Texas says he was able to escape after throwing a chair at his captor.

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Charlie Cytron-Walker told CBS News how he and three other hostages were held for 10 hours on Saturday night.

He said that towards the end - when their captor "wasn't getting what he wanted" - Mr Cytron-Walker saw an opportunity and took it.

"The last hour or so of the stand-off (our captor) wasn't getting what he wanted," the rabbi told the US broadcaster.

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

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

"It didn't look good, it didn't sound good.

"We were terrified.

"When I saw an opportunity, where he wasn't in a good position, I made sure the two gentleman who were with me... were ready to go.

"I told them to go, I threw a chair at the gunman, I headed for the door, and all three of us were able to get out."

Mr Cytron-Walker was held hostage along with three others in the building in Colleyville, Texas, on Saturday.

Their captor, named by the FBI as 44-year-old British citizen Malik Faisal Akram, was killed at the scene.

All four hostages were unharmed.

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On Sunday evening two teenagers from Manchester were detained and held for questioning, Greater Manchester Police said on Monday.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss condemned Saturday's incident as an "act of terrorism and anti-semitism".

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".

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