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UK police arrest two men over Texas synagogue hostage-taking

Police stand in front of the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue.
Police stand in front of the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue. Copyright AP Photo/Brandon Wade, File
Copyright AP Photo/Brandon Wade, File
By AP
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Four people were held for several hours by an armed British man on Saturday in what the US has called a "terrorism-related matter”.

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Police in the UK say they have arrested two people in connection with a hostage-taking incident in a Texas synagogue.

One man was arrested in Birmingham and another in Manchester, according to Counter-Terrorism Police North West.

They are being held for questioning and have not yet been charged, the authorities added on Thursday.

Four people were taken hostage by an armed British man at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville on Saturday.

The 10-hour standoff ended when the 44-year-old captor, Malik Faisal Akram, was shot dead by an FBI SWAT team. All four hostages were unharmed.

The FBI has called the incident “a terrorism-related matter” targeting the Jewish community. London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement that its counter-terrorism police were liaising with US authorities about the incident.

UK police have previously arrested two teenagers in Manchester as part of the investigation, but they were later released without charge.

Akram -- from the northern town of Blackburn -- had been “suffering from mental health issues,” according to his family.

The British national had entered the United States on a tourist visa about two weeks earlier and had spent time in Dallas-area homeless shelters.

UK media has reported that the 44-year-old had been investigated by domestic intelligence services as a possible “terrorist threat” in 2020, but authorities concluded he posed no danger.

The White House also said on Tuesday that Akram had been checked before entering the country but raised no red flags.

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