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Texas synagogue hostage taker says he ‘prayed two years’ for attack – reports

LONDON – A Briton who took hostages at a Texas synagogue has told his family he prayed for two years to carry out the attack, media reports today, as police make two arrests .

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, from Blackburn in the North West of England, was shot dead by the FBI during a 10-hour siege in the small town of Colleyville last Saturday.

His four hostages, including a rabbi, were all released unharmed.

The London-based Jewish Chronicle is posting on its website what it says is a recording of Akram’s last phone call with his brother at home, where he outlined his goals.

Akram told his brother, Gulbar, during the siege, “I have come to die”, adding that he wants “to be martyred” and is “bombarded” with “all munitions”.

His brother urges him to surrender.

The BBC says experts believe the call is genuine.

Suggesting that the attack was planned long ago, Akram said: “I prayed to Allah for two years for this…I’m coming home in a body bag.”

The recording raises further questions about the thoroughness of a recent investigation into Akram by UK security services.

Media outlets said Akram was investigated in 2020 by Britain’s internal security agency MI5 after spending six months in Pakistan. But the investigation was closed after just over a month due to lack of evidence that he was a threat, and he was able to travel to the United States without being flagged as a risk.

UK counter-terrorism police today said they were questioning two men after early morning arrests as part of an investigation into the incident.

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