A suspected Islamic State gunman who opened fire aboard a high-speed train in France in 2015 is going on trial Monday in Paris.
Ayoub El Khazzani, a Moroccan national, was heavily armed when he opened fire and shot a passenger after the train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris crossed the border into France on August 21, 2015.
A Frenchman, a Briton and three Americans, two of them in the military but on leave at the time, tackled Khazzani and disarmed him.
Khazzani, 31, is charged with "attempted terrorist murder." He had joined the Islamic State group in Syria in May 2015. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in jail.
A judicial source has said that Khazzani had confessed to investigators he planned to attack U.S. soldiers and not civilians.
At a ceremony to award the Americans the Legion of Honor days after the attack, France's then president, Francois Hollande said that "one need only know that Ayoub El Khazzani was in possession of 300 rounds of ammunition and firearms to understand what we narrowly avoided, a tragedy, a massacre.”
The train attack occurred between two deadly attacks in Paris that year. The first, in early January at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, killed 12 people and injured 11 others. In November, a group of jihadists would kill 130 people in coordinated attacks in the French capital.
American actor and director Clint Eastwood turned Khazzani’s drama into a movie titled The 15:17 to Paris, the time the gunman opened fire.
Eastwood and the three Americans have been summoned to testify at Khazzani’s trial.