DC-area police increase patrols at Jewish places of worship in response to Texas hostage situation

Several police departments in the D.C. area say they are actively patrolling synagogues in the region in response to a hostage situation at a Texas synagogue Saturday afternoon.

District police said that, even though no credible threats have been made against synagogues, they have been working with the Mayor’s Office of Religious Affairs and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater D.C. to ensure safety at synagogues.

Police in D.C. have also asked residents to report any suspicious activity that might threaten safety in the community by using their online reporting tool, iWatch.

Fairfax County police in Virginia have issued a similar statement, saying there were no known threats, but would be assigning increased patrols around places of worship as a precaution.

Police in Montgomery County, Maryland, said they would also be patrolling areas around synagogues for any signs of threat or suspicious activity.

Authorities said a man took hostages at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, Saturday, where the suspect was heard ranting loudly during a livestream of weekend services. Among other utterances, the suspect demanded the release of a Pakistani neuroscientist who was convicted of trying to kill U.S. Army officers in Afghanistan, The Associated Press reported.

The Colleyville Police Department tweeted Saturday afternoon that it was conducting SWAT operations at the address of Congregation Beth Israel, northeast of Fort Worth.

At least four people, including the synagogue’s rabbi, are still believed to be hostages, according to two law enforcement officials, who were not authorized to discuss the operation and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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