Texas Synagogue Hostages Taken by Gunman During Livestream Service

A hostage situation at a Texas synagogue drew response from local police on Saturday.

The hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville began during the synagogue's live-streamed Shabbat service, according to Reuters. No injuries have been reported inside the building.

Colleyville police said on Twitter they were conducting SWAT operations at the synagogue and evacuated nearby residents. They urged others to avoid the area.

It was unclear how many people were inside the building, and authorities have not identified the hostage-taker.

Colleyville Police Sgt. Dara Nelson told The Dallas Morning News negotiators made contact with people inside the synagogue but that authorities did not enter the building.

Police do not believe there is a threat to the general public, according to the Morning News.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations and Texas Department of Public Safety are involved in the response.

During the livestream, which has since been removed, the man could be heard going on several profanity-laced rants and allegedly appeared to threaten authorities outside the building. He allegedly demanded to have a phone call with his sister.

Congregation Beth Israel started in 1998 as a chavurah, a group of Jewish people who gather for prayer services, before becoming a Synagogue in 1999, according to its website. Charlie Cytron-Walker serves as its rabbi.

Colleyville is located about 15 miles northeast of Fort Worth.

President Joe Biden has been briefed about the situation, and senior members of the national security team are in touch with federal law enforcement leadership, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated in a tweet.

Local and religious leaders responded on social media, with many offering thoughts for the community. U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides wrote: "I am closely monitoring reports of the hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel in Texas, where the community is gathered for Shabbat services. Praying for an immediate and safe end."

U.S. Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne, who represents the area in Congress, wrote: "Join me in praying for safety and quick resolution for all involved in #Colleyville today. I'm monitoring the situation, speaking with officials, and will update when we know more."

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, wrote: "We deeply appreciate the outpouring of love and support for our congregation in Colleyville, Texas. We are also very grateful to law enforcement who are working to free the hostages. Join us in praying for those in harm's way."

Senator Ted Cruz wrote: "Heidi and I are praying for those at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville and for the SWAT team and all other law enforcement on the scene responding. My staff and I are closely monitoring the situation and are in close contact with local and national authorities."

Newsweek reached out to Colleyville police and an FBI spokesperson for comment Saturday afternoon. This story will be updated with any response.

Synagogue Hostages Texas
Police responded to a hostage situation at a Colleyville, Texas synagogue on Saturday. Above, police take is seen in Linden, New Jersey in September 2016. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images