National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday said it is “too soon to tell” if the Texas synagogue hostage situation was part of a broader extremist threat.
“It’s too soon to tell at this point what the full parameters of this act of terrorism, this act of anti-Semitism were,” Sullivan told moderator Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
He added that various law enforcement and intelligence agencies were looking into “what this person’s motives were and whether or not there are any further connections.”
Four hostages were released after an hours-long standoff at a Texas synagogue on Saturday. The FBI identified the hostage-taker on Sunday as a British national named Malik Faisal Akram, 44. He was pronounced dead on Saturday.
Matthew DeSarno, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Dallas Field Office, said in a statement on Sunday that Akram appears to be the only individual involved in the incident.
Akram demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, an American-educated Pakistani neuroscientist who is accused of assisting terrorists and is currently in prison in Texas for attempting to murder a U.S. soldier.
Siddiqui’s attorney Marwa Elbially, however, told The Hill that her client condemns the hostage-taking that “wants no violence in her name.”
President Biden told reporters on Sunday that the hostage incident was an “act of terror,” adding that local authorities and the FBI “did one hell of a job” in responding to the situation.
The president said he will answer more questions regarding the incident at his press conference on Wednesday.
Sullivan told Brennan on Sunday that the U.S. more generally should “raise our vigilance against acts of terrorism, acts of antisemitism, particularly at synagogues and places of worship in this country.”