UK

Two men arrested in Birmingham and Manchester over Texas synagogue siege

Counter-terror police have arrested two men in the UK in connection with the Texas synagogue siege – in which Malik Faisal Akram, from Lancashire, took four people hostage last Saturday.

The suspects were held on Thursday morning in Manchester and Birmingham, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.

The men, whose ages have not been released, are “in custody for questioning” and were held as part of an “ongoing investigation”, GMP added.

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Akram had been investigated by the FBI

Earlier this week, two teenagers were arrested in Manchester by officers from Counter Terror Policing North West, and released without charge on Tuesday.

Those officers are continuing to “liaise” with colleagues from other forces, GMP said.

Akram, 44, from Blackburn, was shot dead by an FBI SWAT team 10 hours into the stand-off at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville. All four hostages were released unharmed.

Sky News understands he had been investigated by MI5.

The Security Service began looking into him in the second half of 2020 to assess whether he posed a security threat, a Whitehall source said.

The suspicion raised about him was related to Islamist terrorism.

He had also been in prison three times, between 1996 and 2012, for a range of offences including violent disorder, harassment and theft.

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Texas hostage ‘threw chair at gunman’

Akram’s final audio call to his brother reveals he said: “I’m coming home in a body bag.”

He is said to have arrived at JFK Airport in New York two weeks ago, reportedly staying at a homeless shelter and buying a gun on the street.

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