Teenagers arrested in Manchester over Texas synagogue siege released without charge

Counter-terrorism police also searched an address in Manchester as part of the investigation

A general view of Blackburn in northern England where Texas synagogue hostage-taker Malik Faisal Akram lived. Getty Images

Two teenagers arrested in south Manchester as part of an investigation into the death of a British gunman at a Texas synagogue have been released without charge, Greater Manchester Police said.

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, who was originally from Blackburn in Lancashire, was shot dead when the FBI stormed Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville on Saturday night.

“Two teenagers, who were both detained in south Manchester, have since been released without charge,” a police statement said.

“An address in north Manchester has been searched as part of the Counter-Terrorism Policing North West investigation.”

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Dominic Scally, of Counter-Terrorism Policing North West, said: “CTP North West is continuing to assist with the investigation which is being led by US authorities.

“Overnight, constructive meetings with colleagues from the United States have taken place.

“As part of our inquiries, 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.”

Earlier on Tuesday, it surfaced that Britain's internal security service MI5 had closed an investigation into Akram in 2020 after agents recommended no further action in assessing whether he was a possible terrorist threat.

The agency had spent four weeks assessing Akram but concluded he posed no terror risk and there was therefore no reason to prevent him from travelling abroad.

Akram was a petty criminal with a string of convictions dating back more than 20 years and had served three prison sentences.

He had previously been labelled a “menace” after telling judicial officials he wished they had died on an Al Qaeda-hijacked plane on September 12, 2001.

Gulbar Akram, the dead man's brother, expressed incredulity that his brother was even allowed to fly to the US. He said his brother did not believe in Covid-19 vaccinations and questioned how he was able to enter the US, due to his criminal past.

British politician Bob Seely has called for the intelligence failings in the case to be examined, questioning how Akram's background was not picked up by the authorities.

“This is clearly a failure of intelligence sharing. It is absolutely dreadful that he has been allowed to go to the States and hurt people,” he told MailOnline. “Clearly something has gone wrong somewhere.”

Akram's time in jail included a stint in HMP Liverpool, a prison named as one of Britain’s worst by government inspectors during his incarceration, and it has been reported concerns were raised about his possible radicalisation. The prison has several extremist inmates, official data show.

Updated: January 19, 2022, 6:13 AM
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