British police said on Wednesday they had two more men in custody in connection with an incident of armed hostage-taking at a Texas synagogue by a man from northwest England.
Malik Faisal Akram, 44, of Blackburn, was shot dead by the FBI after a 10-hour siege in the small town of Colleyville in mid-January. His four hostages, including a rabbi, were released unharmed.
“As part of the local investigation, two men have been arrested this morning in Manchester,” the North West England counter-terrorism police force said in a statement.
“They remain in custody for questioning.”
Police also questioned three other men in Manchester and another in the central English city of Birmingham.
Akram had planned the attack for at least two years, wanting to die a “martyr,” according to audio of his last phone call with his brother published by the London-based Jewish Chronicle newspaper.
The attack was staged in an apparent attempt to secure the release of Pakistani woman Aafia Siddiqui, known as “Lady Al-Qaeda”, who has been jailed for the attempted murder of US soldiers in Afghanistan.
Akram was reportedly investigated in 2020 by the British internal security agency MI5 after spending six months in Pakistan.
But the investigation was closed after just over a month due to a lack of evidence that he was a threat, and he was able to travel to the United States without being flagged as a risk.
Source Credit: TheGuardian