North Texas synagogues request active threat training after Colleyville standoff
DALLAS - Security training paid off for those held hostage recently by a terrorist at a local synagogue. Now, other area synagogues are requesting some of that same training that helped a rabbi and others escape from a possible life and death situation.
Terrorism can happen almost anywhere at any time. The North Texas Jewish community is fully aware of that following the hostage standoff in Colleyville.
It’s prompting many Jewish places of worship to look at their security measures.
The recent hostage standoff is leading some in North Texas to take action.
Michael Masters is the director of Secure Community Network. It monitors potential threats to Jewish groups across the country.
"I think the Jewish community recognizes that it’s under threat," he said. "We have a Jewish security operations command center in Chicago. It’s staffed by a team of intelligence analysts, 24/7, 365."
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It alerted the FBI to the standoff in Colleyville earlier this month.
Terrorist Malik Akram targeted Jews while demanding the release of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, who’s in federal prison in Fort Worth.
"Training made the difference. Empowerment, preparedness made the difference. It gave them the tools to escape," Masters said.
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Congregation Beth Israel previously had active threat training. The FBI says it helped four hostages survive while the feds killed the terrorist.
Now, the same training is being shown to dozens inside a North Dallas synagogue.
"If you’re not able to run and you’re not able to hide, then you must unfortunately fight for your life," said Stuart Frisch, Secure Community Network’s national training and exercise advisor.
Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker threw a chair at terrorist Akram before he and the hostages ran.
There are infinite ways a terrorist attack can go down and many ways to combat it.
One rabbi says synagogues are on high alert.
"Jewish communities are taking very hard looks at their security protocols and training," said Rabbi Ari Sunshine.
The FBI says the terrorist targeted Jews at Beth Israel.
But ones leading Monday’s event say unfortunately anyone can be a target of terrorism.
Colleyville synagogue hostage situation: Hostages rescued, suspect dead
"It could’ve been a church. It could’ve been a mosque," Masters said. "That day, it happened to a synagogue."
The Secure Community Network says hundreds of threats met a threshold to be referred to law enforcement last year.