PARIS — A gunman opened fire with an automatic weapon on a high-speed train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris Friday, wounding three people before being subdued by two American passengers, officials said.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, speaking in Arras in northern France where the suspected was detained, said one of the Americans was hospitalized with serious wounds. Their names were not immediately released.
Investigators from France’s special anti-terror police are leading the investigation, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor’s office said.
The suspect is a 26-year-old Moroccan, said Sliman Hamzi, an official with police union Alliance, said on French television i-Tele.
The suspect was armed with an automatic rifle and a knife, said Christophe Piednoel, spokesman for national railway operator SNCF.
Cazeneuve said the American passengers “were particularly courageous and showed great bravery in very difficult circumstances” and that “without their sangfroid we could have been confronted with a terrible drama.”
A second person was also seriously wounded in the attack, while a third is being treated for minor injuries.
The attack took place at 1545 GMT while the Thalys train was passing through Belgium, according to a statement from the office President Francois Hollande. Hollande said he’s spoken with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and the two leaders pledged to co-operate closely on the investigation.
Thalys is owned by the French and Belgian railways and operates high-speed trains serving Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne, Germany.
French authorities have been on heightened alert since Islamic extremist attacks in January left 20 people dead, including the three attackers.