ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo explains what we know so far about Akram and the hours-long standoff at the Texas synagogue
A man who was killed after taking hostages for hours at a Texas synagogue has been identified as 44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram, the FBI has confirmed.
Akram was originally from the Blackburn area of Lancashire, Greater Manchester Police said.
He took four people, including a rabbi, hostage at Congregation Beth Israel for 11 hours on Saturday before an FBI SWAT team stormed the building.
Akram was shot and killed after the last of the hostages got out at around 9pm local time at the synagogue in Colleyville. All four hostages were unharmed.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) later announced that officers from Counter Terror Policing North West had made two arrests in south Manchester on Sunday evening.
They said the two teenagers, whose ages and genders they did not immediately confirm, remain in custody for questioning.
US President Joe Biden called the synagogue incident “an act of terror” and told reporters that the suspect bought weapons on the street "when he landed" and may have only been in the country for a few weeks.
"This was an act of terror"
President Biden told reporters on Sunday: "I wanted to make sure we got the word out to synagogues and places of worship that we're not going to tolerate this."
The FBI said there was no indication that anyone else was involved in the incident - but it did not provide a possible motive.
FBI special agent Matt DeSarno said they believed Akram was “singularly focused on one issue and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community”, and added they will continue to “work to find motive”.
Confirming that the hostage-taker had died, he said there would be “an independent investigation of the shooting incident”.
A statement attributed to Akram's brother Gulbar, shared with ITV News, confirmed his brother had died in Texas.
The statement continued: "We are absolutely devastated as a family.
"We can’t say much now as their is an ongoing FBI investigation [sic].
"We would like to say that we as a family do not condone any of his actions and would like to sincerely apologize wholeheartedly to all the victims involved in the unfortunate incident."
Akram's family said they believe he was suffering with mental health issues, explains ITV News North of England Reporter Hannah Miller in Blackburn
The statement added: “We would also like to add that any attack on any human being be it a Jew, Christian or Muslim etc is wrong and should always be condemned.
“It is absolutely inexcusable for a Muslim to attack a Jew or for any Jew to attack a Muslim, Christian, Hindu vice versa.”
Earlier on Sunday, the Foreign Office confirmed the suspect was British and the Metropolitan Police said counter-terror officers were in contact with US authorities and colleagues from the FBI.
ITV News understands that FBI officers are flying to the UK to speak with Akram's family.
In a statement issued by Greater Manchester Police, Assistant Chief Constable Dominic Scally for Counter Terror Policing North West confirmed the suspect in the incident was Akram, originally from Blackburn.
He said: “Police forces in the region will continue to liaise with their local communities, including the Jewish community, and will put in place any necessary measures to provide reassurance to them.”
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss condemned the “act of terrorism and anti-semitism”, while the British Ambassador to the United States Karen Pierce said British authorities are providing “full support to Texas and US law enforcement agencies”.
Police were first called to the synagogue at 11am and evacuated the surrounding neighbourhood after Akram took the hostages during the service which was being livestreamed on Facebook and Zoom.
Part of the hostage was caught on the livestream, during which a man could be heard ranting in what appeared to be a British accent, before it was taken down.
US officials said Akram was seeking the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist known as ‘Lady al-Qaeda’, who was sentenced to 86 years for the attempted murder of US soldiers.
The officials revealed that he said he wanted to be able to speak to her.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tweeted her support for the Jewish community and all those affected by the "appalling act" in Texas.
A spokesman for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: “We are aware of the death of a British man in Texas and are in contact with the local authorities.”