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Congregants being held hostage at Texas synagogue: final update

UPDATE 1/15/22 11:30pm EST: CNN reports that failed Republican Governor Greg Abbott is claiming that all four hostages are alive and free, and the suspect is dead. CNN reports that: “About 20 minutes before Abbott said the hostages were out, a CNN team on the ground heard a loud bang, and a short blast of rapid gunfire from the direction of the synagogue.” Abbott’s tweet claiming all were out “alive and free” appeared at 10:33pm.

Given that no rational person trusts Abbott, we’ll all be waiting for news coverage proving the hostages really are alive and free, and that they weren’t killed by friendly fire during the police action, which is more in line with what you would expect from Texas.

UPDATE 1/15/22 7:46pm EST: CNN just reported that one of the hostages from inside the synagogue has been released. Also, the LAPD has increased surveillance of Synagogues in the Los Angeles area, and New York City Mayor Eric Adams has announced that the NYPD is doing the same.

UPDATE 1/15/22 7:26pm EST: This 2009 story published by The Guardian offers background on the Siddiqui story. The story is so bizarre, and there are so many conflicting accounts that one can’t help but wonder if Siddiqui suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder, a condition that is often characterized by manipulative behaviors and facility with lying.

UPDATE 1/15/22 7:10pm EST: CNN reports that: “The FBI interviewed a New York City-based rabbi who spoke to the suspect in the Texas synagogue hostage situation earlier today. The rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas — who is among the four people being held hostage — called the rabbi in New York City at the request of the hostage taker. She is a well-known rabbi who has no connection to the hostage taker. According to the official, the hostage taker told the rabbi that Aafia Siddiqui was framed and that they want her released.”

The “Free Dr. Aafia” movement is an organization which claims that Aafia Siddiqui was a victim of false arrest and was framed by US Military forces. The Texas chapter of CAIR has updated their website to denounce the actions of the hostage-taker and to insist that Siddiqui’s case must be resolved through the courts.

Anti-Muslim extremists on Twitter are now filling the timeline of this story with rants against CAIR, and (predictably) trying to use the incident to paint all Muslims as terrorists.

UPDATE 1/15/22 6:47pm EST: Aaron Katersky, a reporter for ABC News tweeted that: “An attorney who represents the actual brother of Aafia Siddiqui told ABC News his client has been fielding calls from law enforcement and assuring them he is not involved in the hostage taking and has been trying to free his sister through peaceful means.” The terrorist had reportedly claimed to be Siddiqui’s brother, and said that he had taken hostages so he could try to demand that she be released.

UPDATE 1/15/22 5:28pm EST: Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson has announced that police have deployed additional officers to man the perimeter around the synagogue.

UPDATE 1/15/22 5:28pm EST: And of course, failed Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Mitch McConnell’s puppet John Cornyn are doing the usual “thoughts and prayers” bullshit.

UPDATE 1/15/22 5:07pm EST: Sniveling jackass and all around worthless piece of shit Ted Cruz has tweeted that he’s praying for the hostages and nagging local authorities for bullshit that he can spin to try to blame the whole thing on Democrats. House Rep Beth Van Duyne, the Republican Representative for the area reported that she is also annoying local officials with her stupid MAGA bullshit.

Fortunately, competent people are addressing the situation. White House spokesperson Jen Psaki tweeted that the President has been briefed and is monitoring the situation.

UPDATE 1/15/22 4:39pm EST: An FBI hostage negotiator is said to be maintaining contact with the suspect. Police report there are no injuries at this point. At least four people, including a Rabbi were in the synagogue when the shooter arrived.

The suspect reportedly claimed to have placed bombs in multiple locations. The suspect is claiming to be the brother of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, although that information has not yet been officially confirmed. ABC News reports that: “Siddiqui is incarcerated at Carswell Air Force Base near Fort Worth, according to the source. She had alleged ties to al-Qaida and was convicted of assault and attempted murder of a U.S. soldier in 2010 and sentenced to 86 years in prison.”

CNN has reported that the White House is monitoring the situation, and that Department of Homeland Security officials are engaged in the Federal response. Federal Bureau of Investigations, Department of Homeland Security and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms staff are on site.

This situation is likely to spark a national discussion of how easy it has become for mentally ill individuals, and those who are on Federal watch-lists to obtain firearms in Republican controlled states like Texas.

Original piece: 

An armed gunman is currently holding congregants hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram reports. A police SWAT team has surrounded the building and ordered residents in the vicinity to evacuate their homes. The beginning of the incident was reportedly captured on a livestream of a service where the gunman entered and began yelling about religion. Per freelancer Arieh Kovler, the unidentified gunman is Muslim, and told the rabbi he has been homeless for the past two weeks. The man appears to be having a mental breakdown rather than be motivated by terrorism, even says he likes the rabbi, per Kovler, who says the feed of the situation has been cut, likely by Zoom moderators.

 

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