French Train Terror Suspect, Barefoot in Court, Allegedly Watched Jihadist Video Before Attack: Prosecutor
Ayoub El Khazzani is charged with attempted murder, attempted mass murder and membership in a terrorist organization
French train attack suspect Ayoub El Khazzani was led into a Paris court barefoot, blindfolded and handcuffed on Tuesday; there he was charged with attempted murder, attempted mass murder and membership in a terrorist organization for Friday’s failed attack on a Paris-bound train.
El Khazzani was arrested last Friday after passengers on the train, including three Americans, tackled him to the ground and wrestled his gun away from him.
The 25-year-old has claimed that the allegations against him are ridiculous. “He is dumbfounded that his act is being linked to terrorism,” a lawyer assigned to El Khazzani’s case said over the weekend.
The lawyer went on to state that El Khazzani says he found the rifle in a suitcase in a Brussels park where he sometimes sleeps and that he had merely planned to rob the passengers on board the train.
But French prosecutor François Molins dismissed the 25-year-old’s story about the attempted robbery as “fantastical,” noting that El Khazzani had watched a jihadist video just moments before loading his gun, according to The New York Times.
Molins added that El Khazzani’s Internet history made it clear that he planned to “kill a whole train full of people,” CNN reports.
Since being taken into custody, El Khazzani’s story has allegedly changed. Molins noted that he has “become more and more evasive” and finally stopped talking to investigators altogether on Monday.
Molins went on to say that the attack appears to have been “well-targeted and premeditated,” adding that the case remains an open investigation.
The prosecutor praised those who acted to subdue El Khazzani, saying that they prevented a massacre.
El Khazzani was carrying a rifle, 270 rounds of ammunition, a handgun and a box cutter when he was arrested.
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