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| January 26, 2022 05: 13 PM
The man who allegedly sold a handgun to the suspected terrorist who took hostages at a Texas synagogue earlier this month has been charged with a federal firearm crime.
Henry “Michael” Williams, a convicted felon, was charged on Tuesday in connection to selling the gun to British citizen Malik Faisal Akram. Akram took members of the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue hostage during their livestreamed Saturday services earlier in January, capturing the rabbi and three others. After an 11-hour standoff between Akram and the police and FBI, the hostages escaped, and Akram was shot dead by federal agents.
The new criminal complaint alleges that Williams illegally possessed the firearm he sold. Prosecutors said Williams, who was previously convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, sold Akram a semiautomatic Taurus G2C pistol on Jan. 13, just two days before Akram took members of the Colleyville, Texas, synagogue hostage.
The FBI initially contended that the hostage-taking "was not specifically related to the Jewish community" before acknowledging it was a terrorist attack and that Jews were targeted.
During the ordeal, Akram demanded the freedom of Aafia Siddiqui, a convicted terrorist held in a federal prison in nearby Fort Worth.
It was just the latest example of a long-standing obsession among global jihadist groups with freeing Siddiqui — a goal shared by the U.S.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. Akram was following a path laid out by terrorist groups such as al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and the Taliban, which have all sought to use hostages to free the Pakistani jihadist, a virulent antisemite convicted in 2010 and sentenced to 86 years for attempting to shoot and kill U.S. military members in Afghanistan.
The FBI tied Williams to Akram by analyzing Akram’s cellphone records, which showed that the two exchanged calls from Jan. 11 through Jan. 13, the Justice Department said. After his arrest on an outstanding warrant, Williams identified Akram from a photo as the man to whom he sold a gun in South Dallas. The bureau said cellphone records showed the two men in close proximity that day.
Williams told police Akram said he needed the gun to collect a debt, authorities said.
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