• Friday, May 20, 2022

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Texas standoff: UK police release teenagers without charge

A man walks across a street lined with terraced housing and a mosque in Blackburn, Britain, January 17, 2022. Lancashire police are working with communities in the Blackburn area to put measures in place to provide reassurance. (REUTERS/Phil Noble)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

TWO teenagers, arrested in England in connection with the Texas synagogue hostage-taking, have been released without charge, police said.

The arrests were on Sunday (16), a day after the 10-hour siege at Colleyville ended with all four hostages released unharmed and the captor, British national Malik Faisal Akram shot dead.

Akram, 44, from the Blackburn area of Lancashire, sought the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist known as “Lady Al-Qaeda.

“Two teenagers, who were both detained in South Manchester, have since been released without charge,” Greater Manchester Police said in a statement on Tuesday (18).

An address in North Manchester has been searched as part of the investigation by the Counter Terrorism Policing North West (CTPNW) investigation.

Temporary assistant chief constable Dominic Scally of CTPNW said the terrorism prevention and investigation force was assisting American authorities in their probe into the Taxes incident.

“As part of our enquiries, we’re also working with colleagues in other forces and Lancashire police are working with communities in the Blackburn area to put measures in place to provide reassurance,” Scally said.

Britain’s MI5 domestic intelligence agency had previously received information about Akram in 2020, prompting an investigation, several news outlets said, citing unnamed government sources.

But it was shut down again after a little more than a month due to lack of evidence that he was a threat, the reports added. The agency is now expected to review the investigation.

MI5 keeps tabs on around 3,000 jihadist suspects at any one time and has investigated up to 40,000 individuals in total.

Several British media outlets reported that Akram was banned from a local court in Blackburn for remarks he made to staff about the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US on the day of the attack.

The end of the Texas standoff prompted relief in the US, where the Jewish community and president Joe Biden renewed calls to fight anti-Semitism.

The incident also raised questions about why Akram, whose family said he had mental health problems and was known to have a criminal record, was allowed into the country at the end of last year.

Eastern Eye

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