But he added: “If the identity he has declared is confirmed, he is a 26-year-old man of Moroccan nationality identified by the Spanish authorities to French intelligence services in February 2014 because of his connections to the radical Islamist movement”.
The group has been honored by President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande for their bravery.
However, Cazeneuve, speaking to reporters in Paris on Saturday, said the suspect’s identity has not been 100 percent confirmed.
There has been a discrepancy in the accounts by French and Spanish officials. The man lived in Spain previous year and was living in Belgium recently.
The incident happened on a high-speed Thalys service near the northern city of Arras on Friday.
A 28-year-old French passenger had spotted the gunman as he exited a toilet cubicle and was the first to try to disarm him, but the suspect managed to slip away and fire several shots.
This got the attention of Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento State University, who was traveling with two childhood friends – Spencer Stone, an Air Force serviceman from Carmichael, California, and Alek Skarlatos, a National Guardsman from Roseburg, Oregon. Stone then quickly turned to help another passenger who had been wounded in the throat, stopping his bleeding until paramedics came, Sadler said.
Sadler told the Associated Press his friends’ quick thinking and military training had kicked in when they heard gunshots and the man appeared with his AK-47.
“I know, it’s OK”, a voice says. “Give me back my gun!’ But we just carried on beating him up and immobilised him and that was it”. Spencer jumped up and tackled him and started getting the terrorist under control. Stone remains in the hospital after the gunman pulled a knife and cut him trying to get free.
A British business consultant, 62-year-old Chris Norman, also assisted in subduing the man, and said he thought his gun may have malfunctioned. “We were incredibly lucky to have American soldiers with us”.
Three Americans are among those being hailed as heroes after reportedly subduing an armed man on a train in northern France, potentially averting a massacre, according to CNN and other sources.
Three people were injured before the shooter was taken down. “Without them, we all would be dead”.
The gunman, identified as a 25-year-old Moroccan, was overpowered by three Americans – including two off-duty servicemen – as well as Norman.
The 554 passengers included French actor Jean-Hugues Anglade, the star of Betty Blue and Nikita, who was lightly wounded breaking glass to sound the alarm. Then they spotted a gunman entering the train auto with an automatic rifle.