News has been coming in rapidly about two American service members who likely thwarted a mass killing on a high-speed train in Northern France. Incorrectly, news reports are crediting U.S. Marines for the take-down of a 26 year-old Moroccan terrorist who had mayhem in mind. The American servicemen, wearing civilian clothes while vacationing, were from other branches of the military.
Luckily for those onboard, the American service members heard the would-be jihadist loading his weapon in the restroom. Oregon National Guard Soldier Spc. Alek Skarlatos and his life-long friend, active-duty Airman Spencer Stone confronted and took down the heavily armed attacker and prevented the situation from turning deadly. Skarlatos was able to get the automatic weapon away from the gunman and actually use it to restrain the terrorist until French authorities took control of the situation.
A family member interviewed late tonight reported that Skarlatos was unharmed. Unfortunately, Stone was stabbed multiple times by the suspect and is being treated for his wounds which are not life-threatening. The third American with Skarlatos and Stone was identified as Anthony Sadler. Sadler is possibly also in the U.S. Air Force and based in Europe.
The high-speed train had approximately 500 passengers onboard.
The radical Islamist is reportedly known to French and Spanish investigators. He was armed with a Kalashnikov, several clips, a hand gun, and a knife or box cutter, which unfortunately he used to attack the young Airman. He was released from the hospital Saturday.
A statement from the Elysee Palace said:
The President of the Republic is being kept informed in the aftermath of the attack carried out on the Amsterdam – Paris train. Three people have been injured and two of them are in a critical condition. They are being attended to by emergency services. The aggressor, who has not yet been identified, was arrested at Arras train station, where the interior minister will be shortly.
Everything is being done to shed some light on this drama and gain as much as much information about it as possible. The President of the Republic offers his solidarity to those injured and to their loves ones.
Spc. Skarlatos, who resides in Roseburg, Oregon, recently returned from a year in Afghanistan where his team provided security details in Kabul and Bagram.
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