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Terrorism

British intelligence investigated, cleared Texas hostage-taker in 2020

Sources acknowledged the “mid-level” investigation took place in the second half of 2020 and lasted “over four weeks,”

The building that houses Military Intelligence, Section 5, also known as MI5
The building that houses Military Intelligence, Section 5, also known as MI5 | Shutterstock

January 18, 2022 11:36pm

Updated: January 18, 2022 11:36pm

The British man involved in a 10-hour hostage standoff at a Texas synagogue was investigated by MI5, the U.K.’s domestic counter-intelligence and security agency, as a possible Islamist terrorist threat in 2020, according to sources within the agency.

However, intelligence officers concluded Malik Faisal Akram, originally from Blackburn, England, posed no threat and closed the investigation. This allowed Akram to travel freely to the U.S., where he purchased a gun and held four hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue near Dallas last Saturday. Akram was killed by law enforcement after all four hostages escaped unharmed.  

Sources acknowledged the “mid-level” investigation took place in the second half of 2020 and lasted “over four weeks,” but no information had been passed to U.S. authorities before the synagogue attack because he was considered a “closed subject of interest” in MI5’s records.

Akram had a criminal record in the U.K. but not known terror convictions. Family members say he had a history of mental health issues.

The Telegraph reported that Akram was barred from a local court in Britain for invoking the 9/11 terror attack to threaten and abuse staff. He was banned for four months after telling an usher he wished the court official had died on one of the planes that flew into the Twin Towers.

Akram’s brother Gulbar wondered aloud to U.K.’s Sky News how he had been granted a visa to enter the U.S.

“He’s known to police. Got a criminal record. How was he allowed to get a visa and acquire a gun?” he said.