An armed suspect who took four people hostage inside a Texas synagogue on Saturday reportedly claims to be the brother of a convicted terrorist, and is demanding that she be freed.
"A U.S. official briefed on the matter told ABC News the hostage-taker is claiming to be the brother of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, but authorities have not yet confirmed his identity," ABC News reports. "Siddiqui is incarcerated at Carswell Air Force Base near Fort Worth, according to the source. She had alleged ties to al-Qaida and was convicted of assault and attempted murder of a U.S. soldier in 2010 and sentenced to 86 years in prison."
Seamus Hughes, a former Senate counterterrorism adviser, wrote Saturday on Twitter that "the imprisonment of Aafia Siddiqui plays an outsized role in jihadi folklore. Particularly American homegrown jihadis."
In a 2014 profile of Siddiqui, Foreign Policy Magazine dubbed her "Lady al Qaeda."
Groups including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) organized a series of protest last year demanding that Siddiqui be freed, according to an October report from Al Jazeera.
Dan Williams, a senior correspondent for Reuters in Jerusalem, cautioned that if the suspect referred to Siddiqui as his sister, it "may have been an expression of ideological kinship rather than blood-relation."
The man claiming to Siddiqui's brother reportedly was holding a rabbi and three others hostage on Saturday afternoon at Congregation Beth Israel, a Reform synagogue in Colleyville, Texas.
"The congregation was holding a scheduled Sabbath service at 10 a.m. on Saturday, which was being livestreamed on its Facebook page," the New York Times reported. "On the livestream, a man could be heard shouting about dying and not liking police officers, although the context was not clear because the stream was inaudible at times. A video of the livestream did not show what was going on inside the synagogue. The man could also be heard asking to get his sister on the phone before the livestream stopped.The congregation was holding a scheduled Sabbath service at 10 a.m. on Saturday, which was being livestreamed on its Facebook page."
According to CNN, as of 4:30 p.m. Eastern time, an FBI crisis negotiator was still in contact with the suspect.
You can watch a livestream here.
According to WFAA, Texas police and a SWAT team have surrounded a synagogue in Colleyville over reports that a person or persons took hostages as the religious sevice was being livestreamed on Facebook.
The report states, "Police were 'conducting SWAT operations' at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville. An officer at the scene, located on the 6100 block of Pleasant Run Road, confirmed that the situation was a hostage incident, but more information had not yet been confirmed by officials."
This story will be updated as more information comes in.
BREAKING: Hostage Situation At Synagogue In Colleyville, Texas | LiveNOW from FOX youtu.be
You can see some additional video from WFAA below:
SWAT responds to hostage situation at synagogue in Colleyville: What we know youtu.be
According to NBC senior national political reporter Marc Caputo, the likelihood that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) will be indicted has increased after his former girlfriend landed an immunity deal and testified to authorities.
Speaking with MSNBC host Alex Witt, Caputo -- who broke the story about the former paramour coming in to testify -- said there appears to be movement in the Florida investigation of the controversial lawmaker over charges he may have paid underaged girls for sex or suborned obstruction of justice afdterward.
"When this broke, the ex-girlfriend was talking to another woman who was talking to prosecutors that felt the woman may have recorded the call and may have patched in Matt Gaetz at the time and prosecutors suspect he tried to elicit or entice or suborn obstruction of justice and his ex-girlfriend may have participated in that," Caputo told the host. "That was the basis of her getting an immunity deal; 'don't charge me for this and I'll tell you the things you want to know.'"
"Exactly what she told them is key but what's important to note here is that she's an important bridge that unlocks the case or unstalls it," he added. "It was stuck in neutral. Now the case is clearly going forward. I can't promise he's going to be indicted but the chances are higher."
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