Monday, September 20, 2021

Train shooter brought down by American veterans gets life in France

The events on the train inspired a movie directed by Clint Eastwood.

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A French court has sentenced an Islamist militant to life in jail over an August 2015 attack on a high-speed train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris.

Moroccan Ayoub El-Khazzani, opened fire, wounding two passengers before being overpowered by three Americans who were also travelling on the train.

He told the trial last month he had been under orders from Paris attacks mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud to kill Americans and members of the European Commission.

In the end, he said he had been unable to carry out the plan. When American vet Spencer Stone came at him “it was too much – I let him grab me”, he told the court.

The events inspired a movie directed by Clint Eastwood.

El-Khazzani was found guilty of attempted murder as part of a terrorist enterprise over the attack, which happened three months before the Islamist attack in Paris which killed 130 people in the Bataclan theatre massacre.

Three other men were found guilty of helping the 31-year-old plan the attack and given sentences of between seven and 27 years as accomplices.

Earlier this month, one of the three Americans hailed as heroes for overcoming El-Khazzani told the court his main aim had been to survive.

Spencer Stone, a 28-year-old military veteran described via video from the US how he and his friends had seen El-Khazzani pick up a Kalashnikov rifle and open fire.

The train attack came just seven months after 17 people were killed during a militant Islamist attack against the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket.

A Paris court on Thursday found 14 people guilty of involvement in those attacks.

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