(AP) Updates from TJV NEWS
— Authorities say a man apparently took hostages Saturday during services at a synagogue near Fort Worth, Texas.
UPDATE: The hostage-taker at a Texas synagogue is believed to be motivated by the case of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani national who was convicted in 2010 by a New York City federal court of attempting to kill US military personnel.
She is currently serving an 86-year sentence at Carswell Air Force Base near Fort Worth, Texas, some 15 miles southwest of Colleyville.
She was dubbed the “Lady of al Qaeda”
The hostage situation has now been going on for hours. TJV will update the story as we learn more
The Colleyville Police Department tweeted Saturday afternoon that it was conducting SWAT operations at the address of Congregation Beth Israel.
At least four hostages were believed to be inside the synagogue, according to two law enforcement officials who were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation and who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity. The synagogue’s rabbi was believed to be among the hostages, one of the officials said.
FBI Dallas spokeswoman Katie Chaumont said an FBI SWAT team was also at the scene and that crisis negotiators had been communicating with someone inside the synagogue. But she could not say whether the person was armed and she declined to describe what the person had said to authorities, citing operational sensitivity.
Police were first called to the synagogue around 11 a.m. and people were evacuated from the surrounding neighborhood soon after that, Chaumont said.
There have been no reported injuries, Chaumont said.
“It’s an evolving situation, and we have a lot of law enforcement personnel on scene,” Chaumont said.
Law enforcement shut down access to the roads surrounding the synagogue Saturday afternoon.
The services were being livestreamed on the synagogue’s Facebook page for a time. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that an angry man could be heard ranting and talking about religion at times during the livestream, which didn’t show what was happening inside the synagogue.
Shortly before 2 p.m., the man said, “You got to do something. I don’t want to see this guy dead.” Moments later, the feed cut out.
The man, who used profanities, repeatedly mentioned his sister, Islam and that he thought he was going to die, the Star-Telegram reported.
Colleyville, a community of about 26,000 people, is about 15 miles (23 kilometers) northeast of Fort Worth.
According to its website, Congregation Beth Israel began in 1998 as a chavurah, which is a small group of Jewish people who gather for prayer services. The group officially established a synagogue in Colleyville in July 1999, and began services at its current location in 2005.