A Texas SWAT team responded Saturday afternoon to a hostage situation at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue near Dallas, where the community was gathered for Shabbat services. The hostage situation took place while the congregation was in the middle of its morning service, which was being livestreamed on Facebook. An armed man is holding people. Police is negotiating with him. The suspect’s sister, Aafia Siddiqui, a Pkistani woman, is a known terrorist who is incarcerated at Federal Medical Center Carswell, a women’s prison in Fort Worth, serving an 86-year sentence. The man is demanding that his sister, who in Pakistan is widely portrayed as a heroine and martyr, to be freed from prison. At least four hostages, a rabi and three others people, are supposed to be inside. No injuries were reported until now.
U.S. authorities say Siddiqui is a dangerous terrorist with ties to the ringleader of 9/11.The FBI and Texas Department of Public Safety are assisting the hostage situation. It’s unclear how many people were in the synagogue. More than 8,000 viewers were watching the livestream. All residents in the immediate area of the incident are being evacuated. People were asked to avoid the area.The synagogue describes itself as an “intimate, vibrant, growing Reform Jewish congregation that has a lot to offer in terms of religious, social, and educational opportunities for the youngest to our oldest members.”
This story will be updated.
UPDATE: All hostages were freed.