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[RailTransportation] TERRORISM : COUNTRIES: FRANCE : TRANSPORTATION: RAILROAD: PASSENGER: As Suspect in French Train Attack is Interrogated, Questions Mount on Europe's Security


David P. Dillard
 

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[RailTransportation]

TERRORISM :

COUNTRIES: FRANCE :

TRANSPORTATION: RAILROAD: PASSENGER:

As Suspect in French Train Attack is Interrogated,
Questions Mount on Europe's Security

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As Suspect in French Train Attack is Interrogated,
Questions Mount on Europe's Security

By Michael Birnbaum

August 23, 2015 at 7:30 AM

Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/as-french-train-suspect-is-
interrogated-questions-mount-on-europes-security/2015/08/23/
088ff2fe-4923-11e5-9f53-d1e3ddfd0cda_story.html

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/o8hlo8b

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PARIS French authorities on Sunday continued to interrogate a suspect whose attack on a high-speed train was foiled by vacationing American service members, amid mounting questions about security lapses on Europes vital rail system.

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A Moroccan man identified by security officials as Ayoub El-Khazzani was being questioned Sunday by French counterterrorism investigators on the outskirts of Paris. He was tackled, disarmed and hogtied on the train by the Americans and a British man Friday evening after starting to shoot aboard the packed train, which was hurtling from Amsterdam to Paris.

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Khazzani was said to deny any intent to perpetrate a terrorist attack, French media reported Sunday, citing anonymous security sources. Instead, he said, he had merely planned to rob passengers on the train after finding a bag containing an AK-47, nine clips of ammunition and a Luger pistol in a Brussels park where he had been sleeping on benches, according to his unidentified lawyer, speaking to the Liberation newspaper.

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That was enough firepower to slaughter dozens in a matter of minutes. Now sharp criticism is being leveled against Europes security preparedness, since Khazzani had been flagged by counterterrorism authorities in a three countries as a potential risk. He was allowed onto the high-speed train a favorite of government officials, businesspeople and tourists without any security checks. Spanish, French and Belgian security officials had him on their radar for more than a year.

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He had been convicted of selling marijuana in Spain in 2013 and was released on probation, another lawyer, Sophie Duval, who assisted him briefly after he was taken into custody in northern France, told Le Parisien newspaper. Shortly thereafter, he left Spain and traveled throughout Western Europe in the past year: Austria, Andorra, Belgium and Cologne, Germany, he said, according to his lawyer. He was being interrogated through an interpreter, since he speaks only a few words of French, she said.

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But he denied traveling to Turkey from Germany, as French investigators believe he did this May. He said that his passport had been stolen in Brussels and that he had become homeless afterward. Turkeys porous border with Syria has made it a major hub for jihadist traffic although it remains a popular tourist destination, as well.

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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