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Beth Israel rabbi threw chair at hostage-taker to enable congregants to escape

In the end, the hostages at Beth Israel freed themselves.

Speaking to CBS News Monday morning, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who was taken hostage along with two congregants on Shabbat, said as the hostage-taker grew increasingly agitated in the tenth hour of the standoff, he saw an opportunity for escape and threw a chair at him.

That gave him and two other hostages – a third had been freed hours earlier – time to escape.

The hostage-taker was killed, but it is not yet clear whether he was killed by law enforcement or whether he killed himself. Gunfire was heard inside the building after the hostages ran out of the synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, about 13 miles northeast of Fort Worth.

Cytron-Walker also said he had let the hostage-taker – whom police have identified as British citizen Malik Faisal Akram – into the building. Akram had knocked on the glass door seeking shelter. The rabbi said he welcomed him in and gave him some tea.

Cytron-Walker said the man seemed a little incoherent, but it was only when he and his congregants were praying that he heard the click of a gun and realized the man was armed and dangerous.

Law enforcement say Akram entered the country on Dec. 29 and targeted Beth Israel because it is the synagogue closest to the federal prison where a Pakistani woman convicted of terrorism is serving a 86-year-term. Akram wanted her freed, and believed in a conspiracy theory that holds that Jews were part of a plot to frame her.

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