By Shira Hanau
(JTA) — The British government confirmed Sunday that the man who held four people hostage at a Colleyville, Texas synagogue Saturday was British, according to Sky News.
A spokesperson for the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office told Sky News that officials were “aware of the death of a British man in Texas and are in contact with the local authorities.”
Little else is known about the identity of the attacker, who held the synagogue’s rabbi and three others hostage for hours Saturday. Authorities have not released his name, though he has been identified. The man died at the scene, though it is unclear whether he was killed by the SWAT teams that freed the hostages or if he died of a self-inflicted wound.
Because the man at one point reportedly referred to Aaifa Siddiqui as his “sister,” some initial reports erroneously concluded he was her brother. Aaifa Siddiqui is serving an 86-year sentence in the Fort Worth area for attempting to kill American military personnel after she was arrested in Afghanistan in 2008 on suspicion of plotting attacks in New York. She made multiple antisemitic outbursts during and after her trial.
However, a lawyer for a brother of Siddiqui, Muhammad Siddiqui, said Siddiqui was not the man inside the synagogue. The lawyer, John Floyd, is the chairman of the Houston affiliate of CAIR, the Muslim legal advocacy group. CAIR and the Free Aafia movement, which contends that the charges against her are trumped up and that she has been tortured, condemned the hostage-taking Saturday.