Update: 10:40 PM
All hostages are out and safe, Texas governor says
All hostages held in the Congregation Beth Israel are out and safe, according to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in a tweet. No other details on their release were included.
Earlier, news teams in Colleyville heard a loud bang, followed by a short blast of rapid gunfire coming from the direction of the Colleyville synagogue.
All hostages are out alive and safe.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 16, 2022
Update: 8:00 PM
Man held inside synagogue released after hours of tense negotiations, others still trapped.
Please say tehillim for the synagogue Rabbi, Shepsel ben Odel Itka.
A hostage situation is underway at a synagogue in the Dallas-Fort Worth area Saturday, several sources told ABC News.
An armed suspect claiming to have bombs in unknown locations took a rabbi and three others hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, a source familiar with the situation told ABC News. It is unclear to what extent the hostage-taker is armed. The suspect was carrying backpacks and had said that he has explosives. Law enforcement does not know whether that’s true but they are acting as if it’s true.
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. The suspect is demanding to have the sister freed, the official said.
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.
There is believed to be one suspect at this time, the source said. The FBI has responded to the scene, along with local authorities and hostage negotiators. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is also responding to the situation, according to an agency spokesperson.
Law enforcement is hoping to diffuse the situation without doing anything that could jeopardize the safety of the rabbi and the other three. They have ordered the suspect food and are continuing to negotiate.
Colleyville police said in a statement there are no injuries among the hostages.
Charlie Cytron-Walker is the rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel, and has been in his position since 2006, according to the congregation’s website.
The synagogue describes itself as an “intimate, vibrant, growing Reform Jewish congregation that has a lot to offer in terms of religious, social, and educational opportunities for the youngest to our oldest members.”
A White House official told Fox News that they are “closely monitoring” the situation.
The Mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, said on Twitter that “out of an abundance of caution” the New York Police Department “has deployed additional resources to key Jewish locations around the city tonight.”
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides tweeted about the incident, writing, “I am closely monitoring reports of the hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel in Texas, where the community is gathered for Shabbat services. Praying for an immediate and safe end.”
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also tweeted about the incident, stating “I am closely monitoring the hostage situation taking place in Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas. We pray for the safety of the hostages and rescuers.”