Texas synagogue siege: Teenagers arrested in Manchester released without charge

Pair were detained for questioning on Sunday after Malik Faisal Akram, from Blackburn, died in stand-off with US police

Laurie Churchman
Tuesday 18 January 2022 19:45
Two teenagers held in Manchester after ‘act of terror’ at Texas synagogue

Two teenagers arrested in Manchester after a British gunman took hostages at a Texas synagogue have been released without charge.

Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British citizen, was shot dead after a standoff with police in Colleyville near Dallas on Saturday.

The teenagers were arrested in south Manchester on Sunday evening. Their ages and genders were not made public.

Police also searched an address in north Manchester as part of their investigation.

Temporary assistant chief constable Dominic Scally said: “Counter Terrorism Policing North West is continuing to assist with the investigation which is being led by US authorities.

“Overnight, constructive meetings with colleagues from the United States have taken place.

“As part of our enquiries, we’re also working with colleagues in other forces and Lancashire Police are working with communities in the Blackburn area to put measures in place to provide reassurance.”

It has emerged Akram was previously investigated by MI5 and had ranted about the 9/11 terror attacks during a 2001 court appearance in Blackburn.

He had been on the British security service’s watchlist as a “subject of interest” in 2020 – but by 2021 he was deemed a “former subject of interest”.

By the time he flew to the US two weeks ago, he was no longer considered a threat.

It is not yet clear how Akram, who had a criminal record in the UK, was able to travel to America.

US officials believe he had a visa, arrived at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York and bought the handgun used in the siege on the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue.

One hostage was freed after around six hours, and three others including the synagogue’s rabbi managed to flee before the FBI stormed the building and shot Akram dead.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-White had been praying when he heard a click that turned out to be Akram’s gun.

He has described how he escaped by throwing a chair at the hostage-taker.

He told CBS: “The last hour or so of the standoff, he wasn’t getting what he wanted… it didn’t look good. It didn’t sound good.”

“We were terrified,” he said.

“When I saw an opportunity where he wasn’t in a good position, I... made sure that the two gentlemen who were still with me... were ready to go.

“The exit wasn’t too far away. I told them to go, I threw a chair at the gunman and I headed for the door.

“And all three of us were able to get out without even a shot being fired.”

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