US President has Barack Obama praised the heroism of three Americans, including a Greek-American serviceman from Oregon, who subdued a gunman on a high-speed train speeding from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday.
The Moroccan suspect was beaten unconscious by passengers on the train, but not before injuring one man severely.
The trio of Americans were identified as Anthony Sadler, a college student in Sacramento, and two US military personnel:
Spencer Stone of Sacramento and National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos of Roseburg, Oregon.
Belgian authorities, who lead the investigation, given that the incident occurred as the train was in Belgium believe the attack was an act of terror.
Belgian federal prosecutors said they were working closely with France and had opened their own inquiry “on the basis that the suspect had boarded the train in Brussels”.
The Associated Press reports that the Belgian government has stepped up rail security.
Before the incident, Spanish authorities had warned Belgium about a suspect in the country with links to Islamic extremists. However, the suspect held in France has not been officially identified.
French actor Jean-Hugues Anglade who was on board the train accused staff of barricaded themselves in their office during the altercation with the attacker, and not letting passengers in even when they were banging on the door.
“Mr Anglade has seen what he has seen, something very traumatizing. I can only tell you what we told our agent. And the second officer walked around the train just after the shooting. All this happened very quickly. What I know to say is that the Thalys train staff fulfilled its mission.”
Skarlatos: He gun was faulty
According to Skarlatos, who restrained the attacker on the train, it appeared his weapon was faulty.
“If that guy’s weapon would have been functioning properly I don’t even want to think about how it would have went…”
He also said that the attacker did not seem to know how to handle the gun properly.
Skarlatos told Sky News: “I grabbed the handgun, got the handgun away from the guy and threw it. Then I grabbed the AK which was at his feet and started muzzle-thumping him in the head with it.
“Everybody just started beating on the guy while Spencer held the choke hold, until he went unconscious at that point. People started to restrain him.”
Skarlatos – who said that everyone was just reacting on “adrenaline” – picked up the AK-47 and checked the other cars to ensure there was not another gunman.
Skarlatos returned to car 12, where it all started, cleared the weapons and put them in a pile.
He told Sky News: “I noticed when I removed the round in the chamber of the AK that the primer had been struck, which means he pulled the trigger on the AK.
“The primer was just faulty, so the gun did not go off, luckily, and he did not know how to fix it, which was also very lucky.
“When I cleared the handgun I also noticed that there was no magazine in it – so he had either dropped it accidentally or did not load it properly. He was only able to get what appeared to be one shot off with the handgun.”