Two more individuals have been arrested as part of the investigation into Malik Faisal Akram, the man who took hostages at a Texas synagogue last weekend. U.K. terrorism police announced Thursday that the additional individuals were arrested.
Two different teens were detained in South Manchester just one day after Akram’s terror attack in Colleyville, Texas. The teens were released Wednesday without charges after three nights in custody, reports Fox News.
Greater Manchester Police shared an update from the Counter Terrorism Policing North West, that the men arrested for questioning Thursday morning were in Birmingham and Manchester.
Fox News states “several reports” said the two teens detained were Akram’s sons, but police have not confirmed that. Terrorism police have also searched a North Manchester address as part of the investigation.
U.K. terrorism police say they are continued to “support U.S. authorities with their investigation into the events in Texas” and will further “liaise with and support colleagues from other forces.”
Domestically, the FBI has stated its investigations are extending to London and Tel Aviv in order to determine if Akram acted alone or as part of a larger terror cell. During the 11 hour hostage standoff, Akram demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani terrorist in prison in Ft. Worth, known as “Lady Al Qaeda.”
Akram also reached out to a New York City-based Rabbi, Angela Buchdahl, who runs Reform Judaism. Akram wanted her to “use her influence to persuade authorities to release Siddiqui from prison” reports Fox News. Buchdahl told her congregation she had never had any prior connection to Akram.
Among the investigations into Akram, authorities are trying to figure out how he managed to travel to the U.S. last year. He reportedly flew into New York’s JFK, but he had a criminal record that went back decades, and was on the U.K.’s terror watch list for his extreme beliefs.
Akram was raised by his Pakistani parents in Lancashire, England, which is among the many Muslim communities in the U.K. experiencing radicalization. Once in Dallas, Akram stayed at Dallas-area homeless shelters in the days leading up to the hostage incident.
A pastor says he witnessed Akram being “dropped off” at one of the facilities by a man who hugged him and clearly appeared to know him. The pastor handed over video and photos to the FBI.
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Mental health crisis spikes among Afghan women after Taliban regained control two years ago
The women of Afghanistan are suffering a mental health crisis since the Taliban regained power two years ago. According to a joint report from three U.N. agencies released Tuesday, approximately 70% of women experience feelings of anxiety, isolation and depression.
The numbers continue to rise, as there has already been a significant jump between April and June of this year alone, with an increase from 57% the preceding quarter.
The report, conducted by U.N. Women, the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, interviewed women online, in-person and in group consultations as well as individual telesurveys.
592 Afghan women in 22 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces took part in the study. The Associated Press reports:
They have barred women from most areas of public life and work and banned girls from going to school beyond the sixth grade. They have prohibited Afghan women from working at local and non-governmental organizations. The ban was extended to employees of the United Nations in April.
Opportunities to study continued to shrink as community-based education by international organizations was banned and home-based schooling initiatives were regularly shut down by the de facto authorities — a term use by the U.N. for the Taliban government.
Afghanistan is the only country in the world with restrictions on female education and the rights of Afghan women and children are on the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
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