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Friday, August 21

Terror attack on European train: "It could have been carnage if not for the Americans." UPDATE AND CORRECTOIN 12"25 AM EDT 8/22

A CNN report, 2 members of U.S. military stop Islamist attacker on train in Belgium; updated 11:51 PM ET, Fri August 21, 2015 corrects information published earlier by the U.K. Telegraph and other publications that "two U.S. marines" on the train who tackled the terrorist.  From the CNN report:

The train was speeding through Belgium when the man emerged from the train bathroom, shirtless with a rifle -- possibly an AK 47 -- slung over his shoulder, the Americans said.

The three men -- a member of the Air Force, an inactive National Guard member and a civilian -- responded quickly, possibly preventing a deadly attack on the high-speed Thalys train.

The suspect had a box cutter or some other bladed weapon, authorities said.

"My friend Alek (Skarlatos) yells, 'Get him,' so my friend Spencer (Stone) immediately gets up to charge the guy, followed by Alek, then myself," Anthony Sadler said in an interview with CNN.

"The three of us beat up the guy," Anthony said. "In the process Spencer gets slashed multiple times by the box cutter, and Alek takes the AK away.

"I begin to tie him up with help from Chris, another passenger. I notice a man had his throat cut at which Spencer begins to apply pressure to the neck wound before he bled out."

Spencer was cut in the head and neck and almost had his thumb cut off, Alek's brother, Peter Skarlatos told CNN. Alek had taken control of the rifle and hit the suspect in the head with the muzzle, the brother said.

The train was rerouted to the French town of Arras, about 115 miles (185 kilometers) north of Paris. The man was placed under arrest.

The suspected gunman, a Moroccan national, was on the radar screen of European counterterrorism agencies for his radical jihadist views, the European counterterrorism official said.

A second security source told CNN the gunman was known by French intelligence. The official said it appeared the gunman was sympathetic to ISIS, but a full determination on his specific loyalties had yet to be reached.

The man had plenty of ammunition, the first official said, and the Americans prevented a massacre.



From the U.K. Telegraph's report on the incident:
Didier Dobremetz, 58, a security officer at Arras station, told The Telegraph's David Chazan:
"I saw the two wounded men being taken off the train by firemen. One had a wound in the neck and the other in the hand. I saw the gunmen and I think he had five Kalashnikov magazines so he could recharge. His rifle had a short handle so it was more compact and he also had a handgun and knives. It could have been carnage if not for the Americans. I saw the gunmen, tied up, lying on the platform. He had blood on his face but didn't appear to be seriously hurt."
• Shooting in France on [high speed] Paris-Amsterdam train• Two people seriously wounded• Gunman had Kalashnikov and several knives• US Marines heard suspect loading gun and tackled him
Unarmed US marines foil attack by Moroccan gunman with Kalashnikov and handgun on train - follow live updates
By Barney Henderson, Andrew Marszal and James Rothwell
12:42AM BST  - 22 Aug 2015
Spanish reports said the attacker's name is Ayoub el-Qahzzani, a 26-year-old Moroccan who was known to secret services.
El País reported that Spanish anti-terrorist sources said that he "had residency" in Spain for a year until 2014, when he moved to France. The same sources said he travelled to Syria and returned to France soon after.
Belgian media are widely reporting that he entered the train at Brussels Gare de Midi, Matthew Holehouse reports.
It comes days after a Belgian jihadist in Syria warned that the country faced attack.
Abdellah Noumane, a man in his twenties from Antwerp who has been in Syria for two years, said that "libraries, schools hospitals, shopping centres and even nightclubs" are potential targets.
“We no longer care about all the discussions regarding innocent victims. All infidels will be killed. We will kill them like they kill us”, he is reported to have said, in an audio recording circulated on Whatsapp, the digital messaging service.
Noumane, who calls himself Jihad Al-Belgiki, is a member of Sharia4Belgim. He has been photographed with members of Katiba Al-Battar, the group behind the foiled Verviers plot.
Much more in the report: anecdotes from passengers,expert opinion, etc.

Let's hear it for the Marines!  


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