FBI Director Wray reassures ADL that agency is treating Colleyville incident as attack on Jewish community

"The FBI is, and has been, treating Saturday’s events as an act of terrorism targeting the Jewish community."

Nick Monroe Cleveland Ohio

The head of the FBI cleared things up with the Anti-Defamation League on Thursday after the agency’s initial statements about the Colleyville hostage crisis seemed to steer the terrorist’s intentions away from being anti-Semitic in nature.

Here’s what FBI Director Christopher Wray told the ADL in a webinar:

"Now let me be clear and blunt, the FBI is, and has been, treating Saturday’s events as an act of terrorism targeting the Jewish community. Within a matter of hours, we deployed FBI SWAT, two highly trained units from our elite Hostage Rescue Team; those are the folks who ultimately were the ones who went into the synagogue, along with canines."

In terms of further commitments, Wray told the group that "Joint Terrorism Task Forces all across the country will continue to investigate" why the Colleyville situation happened.

"Homegrown violent extremists, radicalized by Jihadist movements online, foreign terrorists organizations like ISIS and Hezbollah, state-sponsored groups like the IRGC from Iran, and of course, domestic violent extremists, especially racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists."

It was back on Saturday that someone held a rabbi and three other hostages at gunpoint during the morning services at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. Hours of negotiations finally broke through after Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker threw a chair at the gunman which allowed a chance for people to escape.

The perpetrator was eventually identified as Malik Faisal Akram, and questions arose over why he was allowed into the United States, given his track record of behavior and being known to MI5 in the United Kingdom.

Republican Senator Josh Hawley has since publicly called on Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to explain how Malik Faisal Akram got in the United States to take hostages in the first place.

As for his demands, Akram demanded the release of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui from a Texas federal prison.

While the FBI arrived on scene for the hostage standoff in Colleyville, they initially sent mixed messages in their comments about the suspect.

"We do believe from our engaging with this subject that he was singularly focused on one issue, and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community," is what the FBI Special Agent in Charge first said. He later backtracked on that statement.


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