FBI Revises Assessment, Says Texas Hostage Situation Targeted Jewish Community

FBI Special Agent In Charge Matthew DeSarno speaks at a news conference near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, on Saturday night. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The FBI released a new statement on the Texas hostage situation on Sunday, describing it as a “terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted.”

The description of the situation revised a previous assessment on Saturday night, when an agency spokesperson said, “We do believe from our engagement with this subject that he was singularly focused on one issue and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community.”

The remark drew strong criticism from the Jewish community and many observers, who noted that the hostage-taker, Malik Faisal Akram, ranted about Israel and indicated to the hostages he believed that he would be able to achieve his aim by forcing them to call Jewish leaders in New York.

Akram said his motivation was to free Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who was convicted of attempting terrorist attacks against American soldiers and is serving an 86-year sentence in a Texas federal prison.

At her 2010 trial, Siddiqui tried to fire her Jewish lawyers, demanded all jury members be DNA tested to ensure they weren’t Jewish, and claimed the court was run by the Israeli government.

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