French Court Sentences Moroccan to Life in Prison for Terrorism

A French court has sentenced a Moroccan man, Ayoub El-Khazzani, to life in prison for attempting to carry out a gun attack on a high-speed train between Brussels and Paris in August 2015.

Khazzani, 31, was convicted of attempted murder in connection with terrorism, possession of weapons in connection with terrorism and participation in a terrorist group.

Three other men found guilty of helping the 31-year-old plan the attack, were issued sentences between seven and 27 years as accomplices.

He had boarded the train with a Kalashnikov and a pistol hidden in his back-pack, but when he emerged from the lavatory ready to shoot he was immediately confronted by fellow-passengers.

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Ayoub el-Khazzani was overpowered by fellow passengers on the Thalys train, including two off-duty American soldiers.

In the fight that followed his gun initially failed to fire, and he was overpowered and delivered to the police.

In his summing up, the judge said there was no doubt el-Khazzani had intended to carry out a mass-killing.

He’d only failed because of an unlikely combination of circumstances, and the bravery of those who intervened.

El-Khazzani had come to Europe from Syria earlier in 2015 in the company of an Islamic State agent called Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

He was the man who three months later organised the Bataclan and street café massacres in Paris.

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