France formally opens terror probe in train attack

The prosecutor, Francois Molins, says the evidence shows that on Friday, El Khazzani, a 25-year-old Moroccan, was “attempting to kill a whole train full of people”.


Witnesses said he opened fire, injuring a man before being wrestled to the floor and subdued by three young Americans and a Briton.

The Paris prosecutor said investigators are still working to determine the exact dates of Khazzani’s trips and whether he has been to Syria.

He boarded the train Friday at a Brussels station. They did not elaborate.

Speaking at a new conference in Paris today Mr Molins also said that among the items El Khazzani was found with on the high-speed train from Amsterdam to the French capital were two pistols as well as an automatic rifle.

According to ABC News, Élysée Palace hosted the elegant event honoring childhood buddies 23-year old Airman First Class Spencer Stone, 22-year old Specialist Alek Skarlatos of the Oregon National Guard and their friend, 23-year old Anthony Sadler, along with 62-year old British consultant Chris Norman with France’s highest honor, the Legion of Honor.

A fifth man, French-American Mark Moogalian, who tried to take away the gunman’s rifle before the other four got involved, will receive his own Legion of Honor when he recovers from his injuries.

With the formal investigation opened, investigating magistrates are expected to file numerous preliminary charges against El-Khazzani, including multiple counts of attempted murder in connection with terrorism, possession of weapons in connection with terrorism, and participation in a terrorist conspiracy.

The suspect had travelled through several European countries and had been repeatedly incarcerated in Spain and flagged for surveillance in France, Molins said.

He said he had not spoken to his son since he left Algeciras, although his wife spoke to him by phone about a month ago. His father denied he had ever possessed drugs.

The searches took place in the Molenbeek-Saint-Jean neighborhood.

France has been on high alert since three jihadist gunmen went on a killing spree in and near Paris in January, leaving 17 people dead. Hollande stressed his commitment to French counterterrorism efforts at home and overseas against Islamic State extremists.

He is said to have told investigators he is “dumbfounded” by accusations he was intending to carry out a terror attack, and has portrayed himself as a homeless man who was sleeping rough in Brussels, happened to find a bag of weapons and decided to rob a train.

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement Tuesday that no one was detained or taken in for questioning. But authorities must charge or release him before the 96-hour detention window closes, which is 12:15 p.m. ET Tuesday.


The confrontation left Stone, a U.S. Air Force member who tackled the attacker first, with wounds in the head, hand and neck. Stone, who arrived Monday, seemed in good spirits, smiling and shaking hands with officials at the hospital. Risacher told France’s Europe 1 radio her husband was quickly suspicious of the suspect because he entered the toilet with his suitcase and stayed inside a long time. “I have so much more to do with my life”.

US service members who foiled train attack receive'heroic welcome at Ramstein