Moroccan National, Ayoub El Khazzani, On Trial Over 2015 Paris Train Attack

The trial of four men accused of planning a 2015 terrorist attack on a train heading towards Paris is under way in the French capital.

One of the four men is Ayoub El Khazzani, a Moroccan national, who opened fire aboard the high-speed train in France.

El Khazzani was heavily armed when he opened fire and shot a passenger after the train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris crossed the border into France on August 21, 2015.

A Frenchman, a Briton and three Americans, two of them in the military but on leave at the time, tackled Khazzani and disarmed him.

Khazzani, 31, is charged with “attempted terrorist murder.” He had joined the Islamic State group in Syria in May 2015. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in jail.

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A judicial source has said that Khazzani had confessed to investigators he planned to attack U.S. soldiers and not civilians.

The incident drew widespread attention and was turned into a movie when the attackers were thwarted by a group of U.S. tourists who overpowered the accused after one of them opened fire on the Thalys train.

Two people were injured in the incident.

The three Americans were given honourary French citizenship. Clint Eastwood made a film about the incident in 2018 titled “The 15:17 to Paris.”

The trial was supposed to be one of two such trials under way in Paris on Monday.

However, another trial against 14 people accused of offering support to the men who launched the January 2015 attack against French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and other targets had to be delayed.

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One of the accused is infected with the novel coronavirus and is too ill to appear in court.

The trial is now expected begin on Nov. 23, at the earliest. The trial has already been delayed multiple times due to the virus’ spread.


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