Man with English accent ‘holds rabbi and congregation hostage’ at Texas synagogue

a An English-accented man is said to be holding a rabbi and his monks hostage at a synagogue in the United States.

Police in Colville, Texas, surrounded the Beth Israel complex and evacuated nearby residents.

Officers asked people to avoid the area. The angry voice of an English-accented man was heard over a Facebook live broadcast broadcasting Shabbat prayers at the synagogue.

He appeared to repeatedly ask negotiators to “call my sister on the phone”, as he referred to spending time in England.

At one point, he could be heard asking, “What’s wrong with America?”

He was also heard saying “Don’t cry for me, I’m going to die” shortly before the live broadcast went off.

It was not clear whether the kidnapper was carrying a weapon or what his demands were.

There were no reports of gunshots or injuries. Colleville Police said: “We are currently conducting SWAT operations around block 6100 of Pleasant Run Road. All residents in the vicinity are being evacuated. Please avoid the area.”

Colville Police Sergeant Dara Nelson said it was not clear how many people were inside the building.

One devotee wrote online: “Our little synagogue is in SWAT mode. Rabbi held hostage. Congregants are still there for Shabbat.”

Beth Israel Congregationalists started in 1998 as a small group of worshipers who gathered for prayer. It was officially established as a synagogue in 1999.

Services began at its current location in 2005. It is said to be the oldest Jewish congregation in Texas.

The “Fort Worth Star Telegram” reported that the alleged hijacker was overheard talking about Islam and using profanity.

He has also reportedly said that he doesn’t want to harm anyone, and has spoken out about his children, but has repeatedly said that he believes he is going to die.

More than 8,000 people were reportedly watching the live broadcast.


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