January 18, 2022

IntelBrief: Texas Synagogue Hostage Incident Demonstrates Endurance of Transnational Terror Networks

AP Photo/Brandon Wade

Bottom Line Up Front

  • A hostage situation unfolded over the weekend near Fort Worth, TX, when 44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram took worshippers hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel of Colleyville, a Jewish synagogue.
  • President Biden called the incident an “act of terror”; Akram’s demands revealed connections to Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who has become a cause célèbre among jihadists, including al-Qaeda and ISIS.
  • Siddiqui has often been used as a rallying cry for terrorist groups who have on several occasions attempted to swap hostages or captives for her release.
  • The Colleyville incident highlighted that informal and formal networks that foster extremism and promote jihadist violence remain intact, especially in the United Kingdom and Europe.