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Security measures are already ramping up at some area synagogues, as many are praying for a peaceful outcome.
Just after 9:30 p.m., Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted that prayers were answered.
All hostages are out alive and safe.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 16, 2022
Although hundreds of miles away, Jewish community members in Chicago are on edge.
“We should become a force, a stronger force, of goodness to battle this negativity,” said Rabbi Meir Moscowitz, regional director of Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois.
As an hours-long hostage situation unfolded at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas outside of Fort Worth, some synagogues in Illinois are now with upgraded security measures.
“We want to follow all precautions, be in touch with law enforcement, upgrade the security, but together with that, not slow this important prayer and activity,” Rabbi Moscowitz said.
A source familiar with the situation told ABC News that an armed suspect, claiming to have bombs in unknown locations, took a rabbi and three others hostage Saturday morning. The person was said to be demanding the release of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui.
Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years in prison after being convicted in Manhattan federal court in 2010 for trying to kill U.S. soldiers and FBI agents in Afghanistan.
Anti-Defamation League said they have people on the ground in Texas, according to David Goldenberg, the league’s Midwest director.
“Many Islamic terrorist groups have called for her release for many, many years. And, she is a well-known top al-Qaeda operative,” he said.
The standoff not only triggered action in the Chicago area, but also nationwide, with concerns about safety in a place of worship.
“I’ve been on edge all day, as I’m sure many people have been,” said Lonnie Nasatir, president of Jewish United Fund of Chicago.
As concerns rise, especially in recent years, the Jewish United Fund of Chicago has invested $1.6 million in security measures at 88 Jewish institutions in the city and surrounding suburbs.
“I think it’s a sad state of affairs here because in America we’ve always treated our sanctuaries as a sanctuary, right? As synagogues and mosques and churches,” Nasatir said. “It just shows that there’s no place, unfortunately, where hate isn’t invading our communities.”
The FBI, along with local authorities, remain on the scene in Texas. The White House has also been briefed.
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