Speed Reads

Hostage situation

Hostage-taker at Texas synagogue reportedly demanded release of al Qaeda-linked prisoner

At least four people, including a rabbi, were being held hostage Saturday evening at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, CNN reported.

The hostage-taker demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist linked to al Qaeda who was convicted of attempting to kill U.S. service-members in Afghanistan and is serving an 86-year sentence in a Texas prison. An FBI SWAT team was on the scene. 

According to FBI representative Katie Chaumont, police were called to the synagogue at around 11 a.m., The Associated Press reports. Services were being livestreamed at the time, and the hostage-taker could be heard ranting about America and Islam. He also referred to himself as "the guy with the bomb" before the feed cut out. Authorities have evacuated the surrounding area.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Twitter that President Biden was briefed on the situation, and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted that he is "pray[ing] for the safety of the hostages and rescuers."