Praises for 'Heroes' who warded off France train attack
Authorities in Arras, Northern France, awarded the Americans and Norman, the British who was injured in the tussle, with medals for bravery. The British Prime Minister David Cameron also praised their bravery. Barack Obama has also thanked them for preventing further tragedy. French President Francois Hollande also thanked the Americans and hailed them as heroes for their role in the prevention of the attack.
Attack attempted on French train
A man attempted to attack the Thalys train service in Northern France; he was armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and a handgun. The gunman was hiding in a toilet of the train; when a passenger tried to enter, he ran into the gunman. They got into a tussle and in the midst of trying to overpower him, the gun was fired.
Passengers intervene to prevent catastrohe
A French-American passenger was injured by the bullet fired. Two American passengers saw the gunman as he emerged from the washroom with the rifle slung over his shoulder and intervened to save the French passenger. Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos, the Americans, overpowered the gunman and disarmed him. Spencer held him in a chokehold while the other beat him unconscious with the AK-47.
Passengers rise to the occasion
The two Americans weren't the only ones who rose to fight the threat. Another American friend with them, Anthony Sadler also helped them restrain the gunman; Spencer sustained injuries when the attacker pulled out a cutter. Another passenger, Chris Norman, a British man living in France, was injured while trying to subdue the gunman. None of the injuries sustained, however, were life threatening.
Each on his own
There were 554 passengers on the train. Among them was French actor Jean-Hugues Anglade, the star of Betty Blue and Nikita, who sustained slight wounds breaking glass to sound the alarm. He said that on hearing shots being fired, the train staff locked themselves into a private cabin, leaving the passengers to fend for themselves. Most of them feared that it was the end.
The attacker is identified
The gunman has not completely been identified but has been established of Moroccan origin and 26 years of age. He is supposed to have lived in Spain in 2014 and Belgium in 2015. He supposedly has ties to radical Islam, according to the Interior Minister. He may be linked to Belgian investigations into radical Islamism; authorities are looking into whether he travelled to Syria.
Oh no, not again
This attack comes after the attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket in Paris in January, which left 17 people dead. This one has caused quite some alarm and led to investigations into further possible threats.