NATIONAL NEWS

FBI assisting in hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas

Jan 15, 2022, 2:35 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 3:21 pm
The FBI and Texas Department of Public Safety are assisting a hostage situation at the Congregation...
The FBI and Texas Department of Public Safety are assisting a hostage situation at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, according to Colleyville Police Sgt Dara Nelson. (KTVT via CNN)
(KTVT via CNN)

(CNN) — The FBI and Texas Department of Public Safety are assisting a hostage situation at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, according to Colleyville Police Sgt. Dara Nelson.

A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation told CNN there are believed to be at least four hostages, including a rabbi.

There are no injuries at this time, Nelson said, adding that police have evacuated the area.

“The FBI negotiators are the ones who have contact with the person in the building.” Nelson said. There is “no threat to the general public” at this time, Nelson added.

Two law enforcement officials told CNN that investigators believe the hostage taker may have been motivated by a desire to free Aafia Sidiqqui, who is serving an 86-year sentence at a facility in Texas. She was convicted in 2010 on seven charges, including attempted murder and armed assault on US officers in Afghanistan.

That assessment is based on both discussions with the suspect and audio heard on the synagogue’s livestream on Facebook, the officials said.

CNN has reached out to lawyers for Siddiqui for reaction to the hostage situation.

The livestream appeared to capture part of the incident before it was removed. Law enforcement officials told CNN they reviewed the stream and are using it to gather clues on the incident and the individuals involved.

Police are asking people to avoid the area.

“We are currently conducting SWAT operations around the 6100 block of Pleasant Run Rd,” the Colleyville Police Department said. “All residents in the immediate area are being evacuated. Please avoid the area.”

“We ask that you continue to avoid the area. We will continue to provide updates via social media,” the police said.

Colleyville is located about 15 miles northeast of Fort Worth.

Congregation Beth Israel is affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism, whose website indicates the congregation serves 157 membership families.

The synagogue, established in 1999 with 25 membership families, was the first Jewish congregation in Northeast Tarrant County, according to CBI’s website. The CBI community officially opened its doors to its own new building in 2005.

CBI holds Sabbath morning services every Saturday, and members and non-members alike are welcome to watch along from home on the livestream, a practice many synagogues have adopted in the wake of the pandemic.

Who is Aafia Sidiqqui?

In 2010, Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years in prison by a New York federal judge following a 14-day trial. A jury found her guilty of the attempted murder of US nationals and government employees, as well as assault against US officers and employees.

Siddiqui — a Pakistani scientist who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and obtained a doctorate from Brandeis University — was taken into custody for questioning by the Afghan National Police in 2008, who said they found handwritten notes referring to potential targets of a “mass casualty attack,” according to a federal indictment.

When a group of Americans attempted to speak to her, prosecutors said she was able to grab a US soldier’s rifle and open fire on the interrogation team, although no one was hit by the gunfire.

At sentencing, the judge found that a terrorism enhancement applied to her crimes, citing statements she had made that the judge concluded demonstrated her actions and intent to retaliate against the US government, including “I hate Americans” and “Death to America.”

Siddiqui’s defense argued she was incompetent to stand trial. But Siddiqui clashed repeatedly with her lawyers, telling the judge at sentencing, “If anybody thinks that it is my paranoia or whatever, I’m not paranoid. I’m not mentally sick. I do not agree with that.” She also stated her belief that Israel “masterminded 9/11.”

Her conviction has been the subject of regular protests in the US and overseas. Frequent demonstrations have been organized by the Aafia Foundation, a group named for her. That group has claimed that she was assaulted in prison last year.

Her family has said in interviews with CNN that she is not a terrorist.

During a deadly hostage crisis in Algeria in 2013, a spokesperson for a militant group offered to release hostages if Aafia Siddiqui was released from US prison, along with Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center attack, who has since died in prison.

Siddiqui is being held in a medical facility that’s part of a federal prison in Fort Worth, with a release date set for 60 years from now.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Railroad workers work the scene where an Amtrak train derailed on June 27, 2022 in Mendon, Missouri...
Amy Simonson and Pete Muntean, CNN

NTSB sending investigative team to Amtrak derailment in Missouri that killed 3 people, injured at least 50

A team of investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board will arrive in Missouri early Tuesday to learn more about the derailment of an Amtrak train that left at least three people dead, according to the agency's chair.
7 hours ago
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) (C), Chair of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th ...
MARY CLARE JALONICK and FARNOUSH AMIRI, Associated Press

Jan. 6 panel to hold surprise hearing, present new evidence

The House panel investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection is holding a surprise hearing on Tuesday with an unidentified witness.
7 hours ago
In this aerial view, members of law enforcement investigate a tractor trailer on June 27, 2022 in S...
ERIC GAY and ELLIOT SPAGAT, Associated Press

46 dead, 16 hospitalized after trailer of migrants found

Officials said 46 people have been found dead and 16 others were taken to hospitals with heat-related illnesses after a tractor-trailer rig containing suspected migrants was found Monday on a remote back road in southwest San Antonio.
1 day ago
Los Angeles police are asking for the public's assistance in identifying a suspect who is seen on s...
Natasha Chen and Aya Elamroussi, CNN

Police arrest suspect in an unprovoked assault of an Asian man in Los Angeles

Los Angeles police have arrested a suspect in the assault of an Asian man last week, in an attack caught on surveillance video, police said.
1 day ago
Hundreds of protesters marched in Provo for abortion rights....
KEVIN McGILL, AMY FORLITI and GEOFF MULVIHILL Associated Press

Supreme Court’s abortion ruling sets off new court fights

Judges have temporarily blocked abortion bans in Louisiana and Utah, while a federal court in South Carolina said a law sharply restricting the procedure would take effect there immediately.
1 day ago
FILE: Rudy Giuliani (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)...
KAREN MATTHEWS Associated Press

Heckler charged with assault after clapping Rudy Giuliani on the back

A heckler who clapped former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the back at a campaign event has been arrested on an assault charge.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
FBI assisting in hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas