A top House Republican revealed Sunday the investigation into the man who took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue on Saturday has gone international.
What are the details?
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told CNN host Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” there is “something more” to the case than a lone actor.
In fact, McCaul disclosed that the FBI’s investigation now extends to London and Tel Aviv.
“I know the FBI has now fanned their investigation out to London and Tel Aviv. So this has now turned into an international investigation. So there’s something more here,” McCaul said. “And the fact he’s calling for Lady al Qaeda’s release from prison has been, as you said, in the jihadist world kind of a cause celebre.”
“And so I think we’re going to find out a lot more in the next 24, 48 hours. He is British. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s Pakistani, just like Siddiqui. And we need to get to the bottom of this,” he added. “We haven’t seen one of these radicalized attacks in a few years now, and it is disturbing to see it raise its ugly head again.”
Law enforcement identified 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram as the perpetrator, and said he traveled to the U.S. approximately five weeks ago. The motive has not been officially determined, although his choice of attacking a synagogue on a Saturday during the middle of a Sabbath service strongly suggests religious motivations.
The suspect reportedly demanded the release of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, who is known as “Lady Al Qaeda.” Siddiqui is serving an 86-year prison sentence after being convicted in 2010 of attempted murder and armed assault of U.S. military personnel. Siddiqui is incarcerated at a federal prison not far from the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue that was attacked.
“This is a disturbing case that demonstrates that anti-Semitism is unfortunately alive and well,” McCaul said. “I think they chose this synagogue because she, Siddiqui, the Lady al Qaeda, they call her, is being detained in a Fort Worth prison facility.”
“This was an act of terror,” Biden said.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan also condemned the incident as an “act of terrorism” and an “act of anti-Semitism.”