Gunman in high-speed train attack charged with terrorism


PARIS (AP) — The Moroccan suspect in a foiled attack on a high-speed train is facing terrorism charges over what authorities say was a plan to unleash carnage among hundreds of passengers.

The Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed Wednesday that Ayoub El-Khazzani was charged overnight. El-Khazzani, 26, was overpowered by at least five passengers, including three Americans and a Briton.

El-Khazzani has denied terrorism plans and said he stumbled upon a bag of weapons and decided to use them to rob passengers.

His older brother, Imran, reached by French radio network RMC, also said the younger man had no links with terrorism.

“He could have gone crazy. His life was without a doubt difficult. He didn’t have much money,” the brother said. “It could have gone from bad to worse.”

“I swear to you before God that my brother has nothing to do with a terrorist. We are Muslims. We respect people,” the brother said.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins has said El-Khazzani watched a jihadi video on his cellphone moments before the attack and that — although he claimed to be homeless — he used a first-class ticket. Molins said the suspect’s explanations became increasingly incoherent until he stopped speaking altogether to investigators.

Among the terrorism charges he faces are multiple counts of attempted murder, possession of weapons, and conspiracy.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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