Thalys attack foiled: gunman Ayoub El Khazzani sentenced to life

The four defendants in the trial of the foiled Thalys attack on December 15, 2020. AFP - BENOIT PEYRUCQ

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The Thalys gunman Ayoub El Khazzani was sentenced this Thursday, December 17 to life imprisonment by the special assize court of Paris for the failed attack on the Amsterdam-Paris train in August 2015, foiled by passengers who had managed to master it. 


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The judges of the Paris Special Assize Court finally ruled in favor of the prosecution

by sentencing Ayoub El Khazzany to life imprisonment.

For his lawyer, if the attack did not finally happen, it was because he had hesitated at the last moment, he had realized that he was not able to shoot the passengers with his Kalashnikov.

The accused

maintained throughout the trial that he

had received the sole mission of his sponsor Abdelhamid Abaaoud to kill the American soldiers and members of the European Commission supposed to be present on board the train.

In his last words, the 31-year-old Moroccan then apologized at length to the victims, saying he regretted " 

everything from the start


But for the prosecution only the defective ammunition and the intervention of the passengers who managed to control the terrorist, prevented him from committing a real massacre in this Thalys train on August 21, 2015. El Khazzani had boarded the train at the station from Brussels armed with a Kalashnikov, a pistol and a cutter, and 300 ammunition.

It had been overpowered by passengers, including two American soldiers on vacation and in civilian clothes.

They had thrown themselves on him, thus avoiding that he does not kill "

 blindly and indifferently all the passengers

 ", said in its decision the court, which followed the requisitions of the attorneys general.

When the verdict was announced, Ayoub El Khazzani, 31, with a checkered shirt and black hair tied in a small bun, remained upright in the box, without showing any emotion.

The three other men accused of helping him on his journey to reach Europe from Syria received sentences ranging from 7 to 27 years in prison. 


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  • Terrorism

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