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Man Faces Weapon in Deadlocked Texas Synagogue

A man who sold a firearm used in a standoff that took four people hostage at a synagogue this month has been charged with federal charges, authorities said Wednesday.

Henry Williams, 32, who was previously convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, was charged Tuesday with possession of a firearm, said Chad E. Meacham, US attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said in a statement.

The charges were announced hours after British police arrested two more men on Wednesday in connection with the hostage situation.

Mr Meacham said Mr Williams, who is known as Michael, sold a semi-automatic pistol to Malik Faisal Akram two days before Mr Akram used it to take four people hostage inside Colleyville’s Beth Israel Congregation. , a suburb of Fort Worth, in January. 15. Mr. Akram was killed after three hostages escaped unharmed. A fourth hostage was released earlier during the standoff.

Federal prosecutors say they tied Mr Williams to Mr Akram, who lives in Blackburn, northern England, through analysis of phone records showing the two exchanged calls in the days before the incident. a hostage case. Mr. Williams confirmed that he sold the gun to Mr. Akram at an intersection south of Dallas, authorities said.

Mr. Williams’ attorney could not be reached immediately.

Mr. Meacham said: “As a convicted felon, Mr Williams is prohibited from carrying, buying or selling a firearm. “Whether he knows the buyer’s nefarious intentions is largely irrelevant – felony can’t have a gun, period.”

The men arrested in the UK on Wednesday have been detained in Manchester as part of a local investigation by counter-terrorism officials from the region, police said in a statement, adding that it was “working closely with” authorities in the United States. The men have not been identified, but police said they remain in custody “for questioning.”

The arrest came after British and American officials revealed that Mr Akram, 44, used to be a “subject of interest” on a security watch list maintained by MI5, Britain’s domestic counterintelligence agency. An investigation by the agency in 2020 concluded that Mr Akram was not a terrorist threat at the time.

Mr. Akram arrived in the United States before the new year. His brother, Gulbar Akram, describe him as a very troublesome man with mental health issues but did not provide further details.

The FBI says that during an 11-hour standoff at Beth Israel Church, Mr. Akram mentioned Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist was sentenced to 86 years in prison in 2010 for trying to kill US military officers in Afghanistan.

Experts say that opposition to Ms Siddiqui’s imprisonment has become a cause cited by jihadists in several countries. She is serving her sentence at a Fort Worth prison, 24 miles from the synagogue Akram targeted.

He was killed by one shot after the last of the hostages showed up and an FBI team entered the synagogue.

British police have made a number of previous arrests related to the standoff in Texas. The two teenagers were arrested on 16 January in Manchester and later released without charge. Police said they also searched an address in Manchester.

Two other men from the cities of Birmingham and Manchester were arrested and questioned on January 20. Police have urged the public to “remain vigilant” and report any suspicious behaviour.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/26/world/europe/texas-synagogue-hostage-arrests.html Man Faces Weapon in Deadlocked Texas Synagogue

Fry Electronics Team

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