The Texas synagogue hostage-taking incident raised the question – who is Aafia Siddiqui?
A live stream of the Shabbat morning service at the synagogue on Facebook captured audio of a man speaking loudly as the incident began. According to law enforcement, the hostage taker demanded the release of Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui.
Aafia Siddiqui, also known as “Lady al-Qaeda”, is a Pakistani national who was convicted in 2010 in federal court in New York of attempting to kill US military personnel. She is currently serving an 86-year sentence at Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.
Siddiqui attempted to kill US agents and military officers in Afghanistan, former Pakistani ambassador Hussain Haqqani who resided in the United States and was the prime suspect in the 2011 Memogate scandal that surfaced in 2011.
The Memogate scandal erupted in 2011 when Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz claimed he received an “anti-army” memo from Haqqani for Admiral Mike Mullen, then chairman of the US Heads of State.
Siddiqui was in the news in 2018 when reports emerged of an ‘agreement’ between Islamabad and Washington DC to swap doctor Dr Shakeel Afridi who helped the United States (US) find the former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2011 with Aafia Siddiqui.
At least four people are being held hostage at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, according to a law enforcement official.
A rabbi would be among the hostages.
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