Synagogue attacker claims to be brother of terrorist 'Lady al Qaeda' — demands she be freed: report
Aafia Siddiqui

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 be 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.

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.