Texas police in a synagogue hostage situation – NEWS WORLD UPDATE

Texas police are dealing with a man who took several hostages at a synagogue in the small town of Colleyville.

A hostage was freed late Saturday, police said. He was unharmed and no other injuries were reported.

The synagogue service was being streamed online when the incident began. An angry man could be heard saying he didn’t want to hurt anyone.

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The police deployed special weapons teams and the local population was evacuated.

According to US media reports, four people were originally taken hostage, including the rabbi of the synagogue.

A police officer told the Associated Press that the man claimed to be armed, but they could not confirm if he was.

FBI crisis negotiators are in contact with the hostage-taker.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has been briefed on how the situation is developing.

The incident began around 11:00 a.m. local time (16:00 GMT) on Saturday when police were called to the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue. People were evacuated from the area shortly afterwards.

A live stream of the Shabbat morning service on Facebook captured audio of a man speaking out loud. He was heard saying, “You put my sister on the phone” and “I’m going to die.”

He was also heard saying, “There’s something wrong with America.” The feed has since been removed.

The kidnapper was also heard demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who is currently serving an 86-year sentence in the US, law enforcement officials told local media.

Siddiqui was found guilty of attempting to kill US military personnel while in detention in Afghanistan.

Barry Klompus, a member of the community since it opened in 1999, said he was alerted to the incident by another member and quickly turned to the live feed until it was shut down.

“It was awful to listen and to watch, and it’s even more awful not to know,” he told Reuters.

Victoria Francis told the Associated Press she heard the man rant against America during the live stream, claiming he had a bomb. “It’s a scary situation. I’m confident it will end as well as possible,” she said.

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