Ayoub el-Khazzani, the 26-year-old armed man who attempted a terror attack on a French train on Friday (21 August), is believed to have fought for the Islamic State (Isis) in Syria before returning back to wage 'jihad' in Europe.
The Morocco-born suspected terrorist has told the French police that he happened to find an AK-47 assault rifle on the train from Amsterdam to Paris and decided to commit 'robbery'. However, investigators apparently have reasons to believe that he was lying, especially as he was found to have been heavily armed.
Besides the AK-47 rifle, the police also found a luger pistol, a hunting knife and several rounds of bullets for the Kalashnikov. According to Le Dauphine, the investigators believed that el-Khazzani has an accomplice, who procured the weapons onboard the Paris-bound train.
Investigations have found el-Khazzani received weapons training in Turkey before he crossed the border and fought for Isis in Syria. The intelligence agencies, however, have no information on when and how el-Khazzani managed to slip back into the country
El-Khazzani, who arrived in Spain from Morocco at the age of 18, spent seven years in Spain. Of late, he was living in Belgium.
What is more alarming is the fact that el-Khazzani has been on the terror list of four countries -Spanish, French, German and Belgium, according to The Daily Mail.
Despite this, el-Khazzani not only managed to board the passenger training carrying 500 people, but also was somehow able to smuggle in deadly weapons on board without triggering a terror alert.
But for the bravery of three young American soldiers and a British man vacationing in Europe, el-Khazzani would have wrecked havoc on the passenger train.
One of the US soldiers, 23-year-old Spencer Stone, suffered injuries while overpowering el-Khazzani, while a French-American passenger from Boulogne-Billancourt suffered bullet wounds after he was shot at by el-Khazzani.