Vacationing US Servicemen Take Down Suspected Terrorist Gunman on Paris-Amsterdam Train
Two men described by French media as vacationing U.S. servicemen thwarted an armed attack aboard a high-speed train en route to Amsterdam from Paris, tackling and subduing the suspect after he opened fire with an automatic rifle.
CBS News reports the gunman, described as a 26-year-old Moroccan national who has not yet been named, wounded three passengers before being taken down by the Americans, one of whom suffered serious injuries. The names of the two men who overpowered the suspect have not yet been released.
US Marine spokesman Capt. Richard Ulsh told CBS News from Germany that “they can confirm that Americans subdued the gunmen.”
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called the American passengers “particularly courageous” and said they “showed great bravery in very difficult circumstances.”
“Without their sangfroid we could have been confronted with a terrible drama,” said Cazeneuve.
Christophe Piednoel, spokesman for French national railway operator SNCF, said the suspect was armed with an automatic rifle, identified as a Kalashnikov, and a knife. He had at least nine full magazines of ammunition holding almost 200 rounds, French media reported.
France 24 reports Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre Henry Brandet said that the motive for the shooting is still unclear, and that “talking about a terrorist motive would be premature at the moment.”
But Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel called the incident a “terrorist attack,” with police sources saying the suspect was known to intelligence services. The thwarted attack occurred while the Thalys high-speed train was traveling through Belgium, according to a statement from French President Francois Hollande.
“I condemn the terrorist attack on the Thalys and express my sympathy for the victims,” Michel wrote on Twitter.
French media outlets report that the actor Jean-Hugues Anglade, who has appeared in dozens of films including Killing Zoe, raised the alarm on the train as the gunman began his attack.
France remains on a high state of alert following deadly Islamist terror attacks on the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine that published cartoons mocking the Islamic ‘prophet’ Mohammed, and a Jewish supermarket, earlier this year.