Presidents and prime ministers have praised passengers who disarmed a suspected Islamist gunman apparently poised to commit mass murder on a busy train in France.
Point of view
It is clear that their heroic actions may have prevented a far worse tragedy
A Briton and three Americans, two of them soldiers, have been hailed as heroes.
Spencer Stone, of the US air force, was injured when the attacker also produced a knife.
The other US serviceman, National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, said:
“I saw a guy entering the train with an AK (47) and a handgun and I just looked over at Spencer and said: ‘Let’s go, go!’ And he jumped up and I followed behind him by about three seconds.
“Spencer got to the guy first, grabbed the guy by the neck and I grabbed the handgun.
“I got the handgun away from the guy and threw it, and then I grabbed the AK (47) which was at his feet.”
The Kalashnikov-toting attacker was removed from the Amsterdam to Paris train at Arras in northern France, as was an arsenal of weapons.
He is now being questioned by anti-terrorist police in the Paris region.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said: “If the identity he has declared is confirmed, he is a 26-year-old man of Moroccan nationality identified by the Spanish authorities to French intelligence services in February 2014 because of his involvement with the radical Islamist movement,”
The minister did not confirm Spanish press reports that the suspect had travelled to Syria.
A passenger was hit by a bullet. Others suffered shock.
But thanks to courage hailed by world leaders, all those on board Friday’s early evening train escaped with their lives.
There were warm words from Washington.
“The President expressed his profound gratitude for the courage and quick thinking of several passengers, including US service members, who selflessly subdued the attacker,” the White House said in a statement.
“It is clear that their heroic actions may have prevented a far worse tragedy.”
President Francois Hollande and Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron were among other leaders adding their praise.
President Hollande’s office said he would receive the passengers who subdued the gunman in the coming days.