Two men have been arrested in Birmingham and Manchester as part of the investigation into the Texas synagogue attack by the British hostage-taker Malik Faisal Akram.
The men, whose ages have not been released, were “in custody for questioning”, Greater Manchester police said, and were held on Thursday morning as part of an “ongoing investigation”.
Akram, a 44-year-old from Blackburn, was shot dead by the FBI after a 10-hour standoff on Saturday in Colleyville, near Dallas. All four hostages were released unharmed.
Officers from Counter Terrorism Policing North West continued to support US authorities, as well as colleagues from other forces, GMP said in a statement.
Two teenagers, who were arrested in Manchester and questioned to see if they knew anything about Akram’s intentions, were released without charge on Tuesday evening.
Earlier in the week it was revealed Akram had been under investigation by MI5 as a possible Islamist terrorist threat as recently as 2020, but the case was closed after officers determined he posed no threat.
Akram had a criminal record in the UK but no known terror convictions. Investigators and family members say he had a history of mental health issues.
The US president, Joe Biden, on Sunday declared the incident an act of terrorism and the British foreign secretary, Liz Truss, said the UK government condemned “this act of terrorism and antisemitism”.
Biden said Akram had been in the US for only a few weeks and had spent his first night in a homeless shelter, adding that he had allegedly bought his gun “on the street”.
Audio footage appeared to show a tense final phone conversation between Akram and his younger brother Gulbar, in which he was urged to surrender by his sibling. In the audio recording, obtained by the Jewish Chronicle from a security source, Akram said he had “come to die” while his brother pleaded for him to stop.
He said: “Why are you doing that, man? What you doing that for, you know? What’s wrong with you? Think about your kids, man, these guys are innocent – these guys you’ve got there are innocent people, man.”
Speaking from inside the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue during the siege, Akram said he wanted to die a martyr and launched into expletive-laden ramblings in attempts to justify his actions.