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Texas synagogue siege: Two men arrested in Manchester as part of investigation into attack

Two men have been arrested in Manchester as part of the investigation into the Texas synagogue attack by a British hostage-taker earlier this month.

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, from Blackburn, was shot dead by an FBI SWAT team that entered the place of worship on 15 January following a 10-hour standoff.

On Wednesday, Counter Terrorism Policing North West said in a statement: “As part of the local investigation, two men have been arrested this morning in Manchester.

“They remain in custody for questioning.”

Texas synagogue siege: British gunman told brother ‘I’m coming home in a body bag’ in chilling final phone call

Akram, from Blackburn, held four people hostage during the incident, but they were released unharmed.

Purchased ‘stolen gun’

Last week, it emerged that Akram arrived in the US at Kennedy Airport in New York on 29 December and was questioned by customs officials, but as there were no red flags in the system he was allowed to enter the country, according to NBC.

He had told family members he wanted to get married and was going to go to Texas to find a Mexican bride.

After two days he asked relatives in Britain for more money to get to Texas and took a flight to Dallas Fort Worth on New Years’ Eve, the broadcaster said.

He stayed in homeless shelters in the Dallas area in the days before the attack on Saturday, and is understood to have purchased a gun on the streets which had been stolen in 2020.

Akram demanded release of al Qaeda suspect

During the standoff with police in Colleyville, Akram demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who is suspected of having ties to al Qaeda and was convicted of trying to kill US troops in Afghanistan.

The prison where Siddiqui is serving her sentence is in nearby Fort Worth.

The standoff ended when the last of the hostages ran out of the synagogue, and an FBI SWAT team rushed in and shot Akram dead.

Akram is understood to have been investigated by MI5 in the second half of 2020, but it has emerged that he was not believed to have been on the US Terrorist Screening Database.

His family has also said he was “suffering from mental health issues” before the attack.

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