France train attack: Americans hailed as heroes, gunman 'had ties to Isil'

Attacker armed with Kalashnikov shouted "give me back my gun" as he was foiled by three Americans, including two off-duty servicemen - follow live updates

By , David Lawler, Barney Henderson, Andrew Marszal, James Rothwell, and David Millward

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• Shooting in France on Paris-Amsterdam train
• Gunman had Kalashnikov and several knives
• British witness Chris Norman: the attacker knifed hero US serviceman as we were tying him up
French train terror attack: British hero tells how he helped tackle gunman
Terror on the train: Gunman opens fire on Amsterdam-Paris train - in pictures
Yesterday's foiled massacre - as it happened

From left: Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and British national Chris Norman hold their medals as they sit in a restaurant after a brief ceremony in the town of Arras, northern France

From left: Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and British national Chris Norman hold their medals as they sit in a restaurant after a brief ceremony in the town of Arras, northern France  Photo: Getty Images

A Brief Summary

The suspect in the attack on a high speed train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris has been identified as Ayoub El-Khazzani, a 26-year-old Moroccan national who was living in Spain until last year.

He emerged shirtless from a lavatory bearing an AK-47, a handgun, and a box-cutter knife. A French passenger then tried to tackle the gunman, resulting in several rounds being fired and one person being struck by a bullet.

Alek Skarlatos, an American solider recently returned from Afghanistan, then yelled "get him," at which point his friend Spencer Stone, a paramedic in the US Air Force, charged the gunman and was able to tackle him despite sustaining multiple injuries.

With the help of Anthony Sadler, a university student and friend was travelling with Skarlatos and Stone, and Chris Norman, a British businessman, they were able to pin the gunman down and tie his hands and feet.

The men have been hailed as heroes all over the world, including by French president Francois Hollande and US president Barack Obama.

05:45

Ayoub El-Khazzani, the 26-year-old alleged gunman, was well known to investigators in France, Belgium and Spain, the Associated Press reports. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Spanish authorities had alerted French intelligence about his membership in the "radical Islamist movement." He travelled to Syria within the past year, with unconfirmed reports saying he did so in order to join the Islamic State.


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