Thank God for these US Military men and this British man living in France. Whenever you have a train filled with passengers who are unable to carry arms, there is a high likelihood these attempted terror attacks will have with a much different ending…
(from left to right) Anthony Sadler, from Pittsburg, California, Aleck Sharlatos from Roseburg, Oregon, and Chris Norman, a British man living in France thwarted the attacker while on the train. They are pictured with medals they received for bravery
Train staff on board the high speed train which was the scene of a suspected Islamic extremist attack yesterday have been accused of barricading themselves in their staffroom and locking the door, leaving passengers to fend for themselves.
The Moroccan terrorist was disarmed and beaten unconscious by US servicemen and a British man after he opened fire on a Paris-bound train with a Kalashnikov.
Now, French actor Jean-Hugues Anglade, who was on board the Thalys train during the attack has slammed train staff who he claims locked themselves in an office away from the attacker and refused to help the trapped passengers.
But the head of Thalys, the train company that ran the train on which the attempted attack took place, denied that passengers were abandoned.
Heroes pictured from left to right: Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler who disarmed the gunman on a train at Arras, France. The terrorist was beaten unconscious by the US servicemen and a British man after he opened fire on a Paris-bound train
The 26-year-old Moroccan national, who was known to security services, got on the train in Brussels and attempted his attack soon after crossing the French border. He was beaten unconscious by three men on board
Video footage of the aftermath has emerged, showing what appears to be the gunman lying on the floor (right) with his hands and feet tied up with t-shirts. A man is seen on the ground with a head injury
French forensic police officers wearing protective suits inspect the crime scene on bord the Thalys train following the incident
French police officers patrol Gare du Nord train station in Paris one day after the foiled terror attack on a train heading towards the city
Thwarted train gunman was part of an Islamic terrorist cell which came within hours of carrying out another ‘major’ attack
By Nick Fagge in Paris for MailOnline
Thwarted train gunman Ayoub El-Qahzzani was part of an Islamic terrorist cell which came within hours of carrying out a ‘major’ attack in Belgium before it was shut down in a deadly fire-fight with police, according to French media reports.
El-Qahzzani has been linked to a gang of Muslim fanatics in Belgium who opened fire on anti-terrorism officers when Special Forces closed in on them near the railway station in the eastern city of Verviers, in January 2015.
Two terrorist suspects were killed and a third was arrested in the operation, close to the Belgian border with Germany.
Now El-Qahzzani has been linked to this terrorist cell, which was made up of Islamic extremists who had returned to Europe after fighting against the Assad regime in Syria.
France’s La Voix du Nord newspaper reported: ‘According to our sources, he [Al Qahzzani] was part of the same jihadist group which attacked on Belgian anti-terrorist police in a violent fire-fight in January 2015, in Verviers, near Liege.
‘It appears that he had been identified as a potential security threat by the Spanish authorities who had alerted French authorities and had asked them for further information about him.’
El Qahzzani has denied being part of an terrorist organisation and claims he discovered the Kalashnikov automatic rifle ‘under a bush’ in a Brussels park, La Voix Du Nord reports.
It states: ‘According to our sources Ayoub El Qahzzani, who was transferred overnight from Arras to Paris, has explained that he found the guns and took them into the train toilet to understand how they worked, not to carry out an atrocity.’
The ‘Verviers group’ had been planning to abduct and behead a prominent law enforcement official and post a video of his assassination on the internet, according to a report in the Belgian media at the time.
Another theory was that the group planned to attack a police station and kill a large number of officers.
But Belgian anti-terrorist police managed to stop them just hours before they embarked out their murderous mission.
It would have come just days after Islamic terrorists killed 17 in the barbarous attacks on a kosher supermarket and the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris in January last year.
Belgian Federal magistrate Eric Van Der Sypt said: ‘This operation stopped a major terrorist attack from taking place. You could say a second potential Paris has been averted.
‘The attack could have taken place within a matter of hours.’
Belgian police carried out searches in more than 10 properties in Brussels, Verviers and Halle-Vilvoorde as part of an investigation into extremists returning from Syria.
Four Kalashnikov automatic rifles, bomb-making equipment and police clothing were found in the raid.
‘During the investigation we found that this group was about to commit a terrorist attack in Belgium,’ a statement from the Belgian police said.
‘When the search warrants were executed in Verviers the suspects immediately opened fire with automatic weapons on special police forces.
A wounded passenger lies on the floor on the train – the man has not yet been identified
The actor told Paris Match: ‘We heard screaming passengers in English, ‘He shoots! He shoots! He has a Kalashnikov!”
The actor, who was travelling with his two children and his girlfriend, said: ‘Suddenly, members of the crew ran into the hallway and their faces were pale.’
He said the staff hurried towards their own car on the train and opened it ‘with a special key’ before they locked themselves inside.
Mr Anglade claims he and other passengers banged on the door and shouted at staff to open up, but their cries for help were ignored.
He said: ‘Nobody replied, there was radio silence. It was terrible and unbearable, it was inhumane.
‘The minutes seemed like hours and protected my children with my whole body, telling them everything was fine.’
But Agnès Ogier, the director of Thalys, said: ‘The controller that was in question, he found himself under fire. He felt a bullet graze him. He took with him five or six passengers. He took them into the luggage compartment, and then he pulled the alarm. ‘
‘Mr Anglade has seen what he has seen, something very traumatising. I can only tell you what we told our agent. And the second officer walked around the train just after the shooting.
‘All this happened very quickly. What I know to say is that the Thalys train staff fulfilled its mission.’
The French Interior Minister said this afternoon that the train attacker is suspected to be a radical Islamist.
Video footage of the aftermath has emerged, showing what appears to be the gunman lying on the floor, moaning with pain, with his hands and feet tied up with t-shirts after he was beaten unconscious.
The camera then pans around to the Kalashnikov resting on a seat surrounded by blood stains on the windows.
US airman Spencer Stone, who on board the train during the attack, spotted the 26-year-old Moroccan acting suspiciously and heard him trying to load his weapon in the toilet.
He was travelling with Oregon National Guard member Alek Skarlatos, 22, who was on leave and travelling through Europe at the time after returning from a tour in Afghanistan.
With the help of their friend Anthony Sadler, from Pittsburg, California, and fellow passenger British IT consultant Chris Norman, they managed to wrestle the attacker to the ground, stopping what could have been a deadly terrorist attack.
Mr Sadler has described how the attacker pleaded with them to return his AK-47.
He said: ‘He was just telling us to give back his gun. ‘Give me back my gun! Give me back my gun!’ But we just carried on beating him up and immobiliZed him and that was it.’
Anthony Sadler and Alex Skarlatos at the entrance of the Arras police station in northern France
The men have since been commended for their bravery by President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande has tweeted that he will meet the men tomorrow to thank them.
Meanwhile British Prime Minister David Cameron has also praised the four men for their actions.
A No 10 spokesman said: ‘The Prime Minister praised the extraordinary courage of the passengers who intervened and helped disarm the gunman, including the British consultant Chris Norman.
‘The bravery of Mr Norman and the other passengers helped to prevent a terrible incident.’
Blood can be seen on one man’s shirt and bag as he stands outside the police station in Arras, following the terrorist incident on a train
French media claim that the suspect was previously known to French security services and was living in Spain. He has already been linked to a number of radical Islamic groups. He was classed, according to FranceInfo.fr as ‘potentially dangerous’.
Speaking in Arras, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve praised the Marines for their timely intervention.
He said: ‘Thanks to them we have averted a drama.
‘(The Americans were) particularly courageous and showed extreme bravery in extremely difficult circumstances.’
The man was arrested by police near the town of Arras in northern France.
Belgian journalist Marin Buxant Tweeted that the US Marines were on leave in Brussels when they spotted the man and followed him on the train. When the suspect went into the toilet, the Marines recognized the sound of a weapon being armed and decided to act immediately.
Via: UK Daily Mail