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Pair overpower gunman in attack on Paris-bound train

By Staff Reporter

Two Americans, believed to be off-duty US Marines, overpowered a gunman as he opened fire in a Paris-bound train last night.

The gunman sprayed a carriage on a high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris with bullets from an automatic weapon, wounding three people, two of them critically.

One of the seriously wounded is a Briton, the other an American.

The suspect - a 26-year-old Moroccan - was eventually overpowered by two American passengers, one of whom was also seriously injured in the incident.

French media sources reported that the two Americans were US Marines, who had heard the suspect loading a weapon while in the toilet of the packed train, confronting him when he emerged.

The alleged shooter - believed to be known to the French intelligence services - was arrested after the train stopped in Arras, 115 miles north of Paris, interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henri Brandet said.

Passengers were evacuated and police have secured the area.

Weapons recovered by French police were understood to have included a Kalashnikov, a knife, an automatic pistol and cartridges.

One of the two people seriously hurt had a gunshot wound, the other a knife wound.

The motivation for the attack is unknown, but a terrorist motive is suspected.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the incident was a "terrorist attack".

Christophe Piednoel, a spokesman for national railway operator SNCF, said the suspect was armed with an automatic rifle and a knife.

Last night, France's interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve headed to Arras, 115 miles north of Paris, where the train stopped after the attack.

He paid tribute to the bravery of the Americans, describing them as "particularly courageous and showed great bravery in very difficult circumstances.

"Without their composure we could have been confronted with a terrible incident."

Investigators from France's special anti-terror police are leading the investigation.

The man arrested is a 26-year-old Moroccan, said Sliman Hamzi, an official with police union Alliance.

Two of the victims are in a critical condition, according to a statement from the office of President Francois Hollande.

French state railway operator SNCF said: "The situation is under control, the travellers are safe. The train stopped and the emergency services are on site."

Belfast Telegraph


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