Gunman jailed in high-speed train attack charged with terrorism

The Moroccan suspect in a foiled attack on a high-speed train in France is facing terrorism charges over what authorities say was a plan to unleash carnage among hundreds of passengers — but his family defended him Wednesday, saying he was in a desperate situation.

PARIS — The Moroccan suspect in a foiled attack on a high-speed train in France is facing terrorism charges over what authorities say was a plan to unleash carnage among hundreds of passengers — but his family defended him Wednesday, saying he was in a desperate situation.

The Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed Wednesday that Ayoub El-Khazzani was charged overnight. El-Khazzani, 26, was overpowered by at least five passengers, including three Americans and a Briton, after trying to attack the train with a small arsenal. One person, a French-American who tried to seize an assault rifle from him, is hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

El-Khazzani has denied having terrorism plans, saying he stumbled on a bag of weapons and decided to use them to rob passengers.

His older brother, Imran, reached by French radio network RMC, also said the younger man had no links with terrorism.

“I swear to you before God that my brother has nothing to do with a terrorist. We are Muslims. We respect people,” the brother said. “He could have gone crazy. His life was without a doubt difficult. He didn’t have much money.”

His father, Mohamed, said Ayoub’s job in France ended after about a month and a half and he believed his son acted out of a need for money.

“If he had nothing to eat, he doubtless wanted to commit a theft,” his father told BFM television network.

But Paris prosecutor Francois Molins has said El-Khazzani watched a jihadi video on his cellphone moments before the attack and that — although he claimed to be homeless — he bought a first-class ticket. Molins said the suspect’s explanations became increasingly incoherent until he stopped speaking altogether to investigators.

Among the terrorism charges he faces are multiple counts of attempted murder, possession of weapons, and conspiracy.

Just Posted

Rachel Notley is coming to Red Deer

Speaking at campaign office

Missing woman reported

Last seen in Red Deer

Allies of local LGBTQ community to speak at RDC on Tuesday

Red Deer College is starting a conversation about gender and sexual orientation… Continue reading

Case of Red Deer ex-teacher charged with child sex offences in court

Norman Joseph Howes accused of offences that occurred during 2018 Christmas break

RDSO goes to the movies for blockbuster concert Saturday at Red Deer’s Memorial Centre

‘Star Wars,’ ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Star Trek’ music on the program

Canadian pair fifth after short program at figure skating worlds

SAITAMA, Japan — Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro are fifth after… Continue reading

Director Kim Nguyen tackles financial ‘madness’ in ‘The Hummingbird Project’

TORONTO — As Quebec filmmaker Kim Nguyen tells it, “The Hummingbird Project”… Continue reading

What Disney gets as its $71.3B buy of Fox assets closes

It’s finally complete. Disney closed its $71 billion acquisition of Fox’s entertainment… Continue reading

Opinion: Let’s be heard ‘loud and clear’ during provincial election campaign

By David Marsden During the banquet for Sunday’s Boston Bruins alumni game,… Continue reading

Documentary on Colten Boushie case to open Toronto’s Hot Docs festival

TORONTO — A film examining the case of a young Indigenous man… Continue reading

Want to help bees? Plant flowering herbs

Herbs are among the most useful plants in nature. They can tantalize… Continue reading

UN: Gene editing for human reproduction is ‘irresponsible’

GENEVA — A panel convened by the World Health Organization said it… Continue reading

Photos: Three moose spotted in Red Deer Tuesday

Three moose were spotted in Red Deer Tuesday morning. Red Deer resident… Continue reading

Most Read