Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted that all hostages are safe after Saturday’s standoff inside a Dallas-area synagogue, and law enforcement officials confirmed that the hostage-taker was killed in the rescue.
“Prayers answered. All hostages are out alive and safe," Abbott tweeted Saturday night.Abbott’s tweet came not long after a loud bang and what sounded like gunfire was heard coming from the synagogue. Details of the rescue were not immediately clear.
Some news outlets reported that the hostage-taker had been shot, but no further information was immediately available.
One hostage had been freed earlier.
Newsmax's earlier story follows:
The armed man holding a rabbi and three others hostage at a Texas synagogue and claiming to have planted bombs in several other locations, says he is the brother of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani nicknamed "Lady al-Qaeda" by counterterrorism groups, and is demanding her release from a federal prison in Fort Worth, according to sources at the scene.
The suspect, whose name has not been released, made the demands after taking the hostages, reports ABC News, a source at the scene of the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth.
Federal authorities have not officially confirmed the suspect's identity, but other reports indicate that a family member has said the man at the synagogue is not a biological relative of Siddiqui's.
Siddiqui, an MIT-educated neuroscientist, was once described by U.S. officials as "the most wanted woman in the world," is in custody at Federal Medical Center Carswell, a women's prison in Fort Worth.
She is serving an 86-year sentence in prison for charges in connection with the attempted murder and assault of U.S. officers and employees in Afghanistan in 2008.
Siddiqui was transferred to the medical center after the Pakistani government filed a complaint against the United States after she said she was attacked in her cell by another inmate in July, reports The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The Dallas-Fort Worth sector of the Council on American-Islamic Relations told the newspaper at the time that another woman had smashed a coffee mug full of scalding liquid into Siddiqui's face, after which the Pakistani terrorist was put in solitary confinement.
U.S. officials have refused calls several times to exchange Siddiqui for American hostages, including journalist James Foley, who was eventually executed by ISIS.
When Siddiqui was detained in Afghanistan in 2008, officers discovered documents on her about creating explosives, descriptions of American landmarks, and sealed bottles of chemicals, a press release said about her arrest.
U.S. Army officers said that after she was captured and had been in custody in Afghanistan, Siddiqui was able to grab a gun from an officer and fire at least two shots. She did not hit anyone, but an Army officer shot her in the torso, The Star-Tribune reports.
Her family in Pakistan says Siddiqui was used as a scapegoat after the 9/11 attacks, and she is seen by many as a heroine and a martyr, and in 2018, the Senate of Pakistan unanimously passed a resolution to fight for her freedom, calling her "the Daughter of the Nation."
The man holding the hostages was heard on a livestream of Saturday services, ranting and talking about religion. He also repeatedly mentioned his sister and demanded she be released.
The Star-Telegram reports a neighbor says she saw SWAT officers headed to the church at about 2 p.m.
The Colleyville Police Department posted on Twitter earlier Saturday that it was conducting SWAT operations on the block where Congregation Beth Israel, established in 1999, is located and said that all residents in the immediate area were being evacuated.
No injuries have been reported inside the building, according to a report in the Dallas Morning News.
"Colleyville Police Sgt. Dara Nelson said negotiators have made contact with somebody inside the synagogue who they believe is a suspect," the Dallas Morning News said.
The man could be heard having a one-sided conversation in what appeared to be a phone call during a livestream of the Reform Jewish synagogue's Shabbat service. The livestream cut off at around 3 p.m. EST.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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