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TX Hostage Taker Raised No Red Flags, White House Says

Malik Faisal Akram, the gunman who took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue in a 10-hour standoff that ended in his death, was checked against law enforcement databases before entering the U.S. but raised no red flags, the White House said, the Associated Press reports. Akram, a 44-year-old British citizen, arrived in the U.S. at Kennedy Airport in New York on a tourist visa about two weeks ago. He spent time in Dallas-area homeless shelters before the attack Saturday in the suburb of Colleyville. Akram was not believed to be in the Terrorist Screening Database, a listing of known or suspected terrorists maintained by the FBI and shared with a variety of federal agencies. Had he been included, it would have been extremely difficult for him to get into the U.S..

British media said Akram was investigated by the domestic intelligence service MI5 as a possible “terrorist threat” in 2020, but authorities concluded he posed no danger, and the investigation was closed. Akram, who lives in the English industrial city of Blackburn, had been “suffering from mental health issues,” his family said. The case illustrated the difficulties in identifying potential lone-wolf attackers, despite the U.S. government’s enormous strides in counterterrorism efforts since 9/11. Investigators are sorting through Akram’s movements in the U.S. and reviewing his financial and phone records. They believe he may have traveled by bus to Texas.


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