Texas Jewish community under threat of terror attack, synagogue prayers cancelled

FBI warned San Antonio Jewish community of threats to a local “Jewish facility,” prompting suspension of all community gatherings – including Sabbath services.

By World Israel News Staff

Jewish congregations in San Antonio, Texas cancelled Sabbath prayer services on Saturday, with local Jewish institutions temporarily suspending operation amid a security warning issued by the federal law enforcement officials.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security warned the San Antonio Jewish community Saturday that an apparent threat had been made against a local Jewish “communal facility,” possibly indicating a planned attack against a synagogue.

“The FBI is investigating a potential threat targeting an unidentified synagogue in Texas. We are working to determine the credibility of the threat and sharing information with our law enforcement partners and our partners in the Jewish community,” the FBI said Saturday.

Temple Beth-El announced Saturday morning that it had been informed by the FBI of a “potential threat to an unconfirmed Jewish facility in the San Antonio area” and that authorities had recommended cancelling all in-person gatherings “until further notice.”

Hours later, the Jewish Federation of San Antonio announced that the security alert had been lifted.

“On 09 July 2022, both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the United States Department of Homeland Security released statements indicating that an online threat made by an individual possibly intent on carrying out an attack on a synagogue in Texas, potentially in the near future, remains under investigation,” the Secure Community Network, which coordinates security operations for Jewish communities across North America, said in a statement.

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“SCN published an initial Situation Report about this potential threat on 07 July. As of this time, the FBI does not currently have any assessment as to the veracity of the threat but is working to obtain additional information. SCN has been working closely with the FBI, as well as other local, state, and federal law enforcement as well as community security partners related to this threat.”

No details regarding the security threat were released, though the Anti-Defamation League announced that a suspect had been arrested in connection with the case.

“ADL is thankful to federal, state and local law enforcement for taking this threat to Texas Jewish communities seriously and working diligently to identify and apprehend the suspect,” ADL director Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement Saturday evening.

“We also wish to thank our partners at the San Antonio Jewish Federation and Secure Community Network for their continued collaboration in the face of threats to local Jewish communities.”

“With the immediate threat brought to a resolution, ADL will continue to be in contact with law enforcement, as we have been over the past few days, monitoring the situation. As we have previously said, in this heightened threat environment we urge all communities to maintain vigilance and immediately report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.”

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In January, an armed man seized control of Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, holding the rabbi and congregants hostage for eleven hours.

The gunman, a 44-year-old British Pakistani man named Malik Faisal Akram was shot dead by FBI agents, ending of the standoff.