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British police arrest two men in relation to Texas synagogue hostage crisis

British police arrest two men in relation to Texas synagogue hostage crisis
Law enforcement personnel outside Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. Police in Britain arrested two men for questioning Wednesday in relation to the hostage crisis at the synagogue. File Photo by Ralph Lauer/EPA-EFE

Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Two men were arrested in Britain Wednesday morning, in relation to the hostage crisis at a Texas synagogue 11 days ago, according to authorities.

The Greater Manchester Police announced the arrests on Twitter Wednesday morning.

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The two men were taken into custody by counterterrorism officers for questioning, according to the department.

This comes less than a week after two other men were arrested in Britain and detained for questioning over their possible involvement in the incident, which the FBI is investigating as a hate crime.

RELATED FBI Director: Texas hostage situation was a terrorism act targeting Jewish community

All four men remain in custody for questioning and have not been charged, according to the department.

No hostages were injured during the standoff, which lasted more than 10 hours.

The department said it is continuing its investigation and its officers "are working closely with and are supporting U.S. law enforcement."

Also on Wednesday, federal authorities announced they have charged a man in Texas for allegedly selling the pistol used during the hostage incident at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville.

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Henry Dwight Williams, 32, was formally charged with a federal gun crime Tuesday and appeared in the Northern District of Texas court Wednesday. He remains in custody with a detention hearing set for Monday, according to the Justice Department.

RELATED British police arrest two men linked to Texas synagogue hostage crisis

Prosecutors contend Williams sold Malik Faisal Akram the gun he used to kidnap the hostages. Williams is a felon and prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Akram was killed at the scene when police eventually stormed the synagogue.

"Federal firearm laws are designed to keep guns from falling into dangerous hands. As a convicted felon, Mr. Williams was prohibited from carrying, acquiring, or selling firearms. Whether or not he knew of his buyer's nefarious intent is largely irrelevant -- felons cannot have guns, period, and the Justice Department is committed to prosecuting those who do," said U.S. Attorney Chad E. Meacham.

"We are grateful to the many officers and agents who sprang into action as soon as the synagogue hostage crisis began, and who worked tirelessly to track the weapon from Mr. Akram to Mr. Williams. The freed hostages, the Beth Israel congregation, and indeed the entire Jewish community deserve that support."

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