2 men arrested in UK in connection with Texas synagogue hostage-taker

Men were arrested in Greater Manchester

Police stand in front of the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, in Colleyville, Texas. A man held hostages for more than 10 hours the day before inside the temple. The hostages were able to escape and the hostage taker was killed. FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno said a team would investigate "the shooting incident." (AP Photo/Brandon Wade) (Brandon Wade, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Two more people are in custody in connection with the 11-hour hostage situation at a North Texas synagogue earlier this month.

The men were arrested in the United Kingdom city of Greater Manchester this week as the investigation continues into the Jan. 15 standoff, where Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British citizen, took four people hostage.

Akram was killed that night after the last hostages ran out of Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville.

U.K. counterterrorism investigators and the Greater Manchester Police have been working with U.S. law enforcement in the investigation, and the incident is being treated as a hate crime and an act of terrorism.

Last week, two other men were arrested in England in connection with the attack, which has put Jewish communities across the U.S. on high alert. The men were released with no further action.

Two British teenagers were also detained earlier in Manchester and released without charge.

“Communities defeat terrorism, and the help and support we get from the public is a vital part of that,” a news release from Greater Manchester Police states. “We urge everyone to remain vigilant, and if you do see anything suspicious then please report it, in confidence, to police via the Anti-terrorist hotline or gov.uk/ACT.”

The Associated Press previously reported that Akram was checked against law enforcement databases before entering the U.S. but raised no red flags.

Akram was not believed to be included in the Terrorist Screening Database, a listing of known or suspected terrorists maintained by the FBI and shared with a variety of federal agencies, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press. Had he been included, it would have been extremely difficult for him to get into the country.

He entered the U.S. on a tourist visa.

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Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.