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‘Terrorist’ gunman wounds 3 on Europe train

The suspect, who has been arrested, was of Moroccan origins, and was armed with an automatic rifle and knife

Published: Updated:

A gunman opened fire with an automatic weapon on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris Friday, wounding three people, two of them critically, officials said.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the shooting Friday on board an Amsterdam-Paris train, which injured two passengers, was a “terrorist attack.”

“I condemn the terrorist attack on the Thalys (train) and express my sympathy for the victims,” Michel wrote on Twitter, referring to the high-speed service.

The suspect is from Morocco or of Moroccan origin and is known to French intelligence services, said a police source.

The 26-year-old suspect was overpowered by two American passengers on the high-speed train and arrested when the train stopped in northern France.

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

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the American passengers “were particularly courageous and showed great bravery in very difficult circumstances” and that “without their sangfroid we could have been confronted with a terrible drama.”

Counter-terrorism investigators have launched a probe.

The suspect was arrested after the train stopped in Arras, 185 kilometers north of Paris, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henri Brandet said on French television BFM. Passengers were evacuated and police have secured the area.

Close cooperation

Investigators from France’s special anti-terror police are leading the investigation, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

The attack took place while the train was passing through Belgium, according to a statement from the office President Francois Hollande. Hollande said he’s spoken with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and the two leaders pledged to cooperate closely on the investigation.

Two of the victims were in critical condition, according to a statement from Hollande’s office.

The suspect is a 26-year-old Moroccan, said Sliman Hamzi, an official with police union Alliance, said on French television i-Tele.

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

France’s interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve was en route to Arras.

(With AP, AFP, and Reuters)