The gunman after a foiled terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train in 2015 has been sentenced to life behind bars. Ayoub El Khazzani was convicted of attempted murder on Thursday, at a French court.
On August 21, 2015, Khazzani mounted the high-speed Thalys service to Paris at Brussels, armed with an attack rifle, nearly 300 rounds of ammunition, a handgun and a cutter.
Few if any of the customers in car No. 12 of the train from Amsterdam to Paris will have also given their goal alive if the attack had gone off as planned, and prosecutors, lawyers and some witnesses contended during the trial.
His terror attack was thwarted by two US servicemen and their friend, who managed to tackle, choke and knock him senseless with his own Kalashnikov rifle.
The predictions of the heroics of childhood California friends Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlotta and Anthony Sadler were the highlight of the trial.
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Three other men, meanwhile, were convicted of helping El Khazzani and the attack mastermind, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was also behind the November 13 murders in the French capital.
Bilal Chatra and Mohamed Bakkali were sentenced for 27 years and 25 years, respectively, for being complicit in the attack. A third man, Redouane El Amrani Ezzerrifi, was given a seven-year order.
Masterminded by Abaaoud
The train attack was allegedly organised by Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who is also accused of being the coordinator of the November 2015 attacks in Paris.
El Khazzani was found Abaaoud in Syria and travelled with him back to Brussels. He said the court that Abaaoud prepared the plan for the train attack.