Two American servicemen were responsible for subduing a man who looked to be preparing to shoot up a high speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris. Just after 6 p.m. Friday, the servicemen were seriously injured, while well-known French actor Jean-Hugues Anglade suffered a minor injury from broken glass that occurred while he was activating the alarm.
According to numerous reports, two Americans, possibly Marines or National Guard members, intervened and took down the gunman, who has been arrested. Both servicemen were injured as a result, one by the attacker’s handgun. The White House released a statement thanking the service members for subduing the attacker.
“While the investigation into the attack is in its early stages, it is clear that their heroic actions may have prevented a far worse tragedy,” the statement said.
The Thalys train was travelling through Belgium when the incident occurred, and was then diverted to the French town of Arras. A friend of Anglade released a statement to Le Parisien newspaper saying, “Jean-Hugues Anglade is okay. But he is shocked by what he experienced in the Thalys in which he was traveling with his son. They heard gunfire since they were in the car next to the one in which it occurred. He was heroic because he pulled the alarm.”
The actor spoke to French magazine Paris Watch the morning after the attack, describing the incident and expressing his gratitude to the intervening Americans.
“We are shocked, but we are alive, and that’s the point,” he said. “We were in the wrong place, but with the right people. It’s a miracle. We were incredibly lucky to have these American soldiers. I want to pay tribute to their heroic courage and thank them, without them we’d all be dead.”
His statement also raised debate about the train’s crew, who locked themselves in their staff car, according to Anglade.
Anglade starred in French drama series “Braquo,” as well as films “Betty Blue” and “Subway.”
The 26-year-old gunman, who is of Moroccan origin, is known to intelligence services for his extreme Jihadist views. He was armed with a Kalashnikov and several knives, according to AFP. Counterterrorism authorities are investigating the incident.
The attack comes seven months after Islamic extremists attacked the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo as well as a Jewish supermarket in Paris. In an unrelated ISIS-inspired attack, a man beheaded his boss and attempted to blow up a gas plant in southern France in June.