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Off-Duty U.S. Military Foils Terrorist Attack In France

| by Lauren Briggs

Three off-duty, unarmed U.S. military servicemen reportedly overpowered an active gunman when he opened fire in a train traveling to Paris, France, on Aug. 21.

Fox News reports that 26-year-old Moroccan man “known to intelligence services” as a threat injured three at approximately 6 p.m. local time before the men, rumored to be Marines, subdued him until police arrived and arrested him.

"The situation is under control, the travelers are safe,” said a spokesperson for the train company, Thalys, in a tweet. “The train stopped and the emergency services are on site.”

The high-speed train was headed from Amsterdam for Paris. The gunman opened fire while the train passed through Belgium, and the bold men tackled the suspect, pulling him off the train when it stopped 115 miles north of Paris in Arras, France, where they forced him to the ground on the platform and waited for police.

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The Daily Mail reports the gunman shot one of the off-duty Marines, leaving him and a second victim in critical condition. The third victim, French actor Jean-Hugues Anglade, who plays a police officer in the French crime drama "Braquo," sustained minor injuries.

The suspect reportedly carried a knife and nine full magazines with nearly 300 rounds of ammunition.

“Thanks to (the Americans) we have averted a drama,” said French Interior Minster Bernard Cazeneuve in French. He added that the military men were “particularly courageous and showed extreme bravery in extremely difficult circumstances.”

Officials will not yet confirm whether the attack was an act of terrorism, calling it “too early to speak of a terrorist link” because they “do not know his motives.”

France has been on high alert since January, after Islamic fundamentalists attacked the Parisian satire magazine Charlie Hebdo office and then moved to a Jewish supermarket nearby, in what officials called an act of terrorism.

Two months ago, a man beheaded his boss and tried to blow up a gas plant in southern France in an attack that authorities have linked to Islamic State group.

“I express my solidarity with the wounded from the attack on the train from Amsterdam to Paris,” French president Francois Hollande said. “Everything is being done to shed light on this tragedy.”

Sources: Fox News, Daily Mail / Photo credit: U.S. Navy/Flickr