THE man believed to be the gunman who opened fire on a high-speed train from Paris to Amsterdam on Friday (August 21) spent seven years living in Spain.
The 25-year-old Moroccan national, Ayoub El-Khazzani, lived in Spain from 2007 to 2014, first in Madrid, then in Algeciras, a port city on the Bay of Gibraltar, says Spanish daily newspaper El Pais.
The report adds that when El-Khazzani moved to France in March 2014, Spanish intelligence passed their files on him on to French authorities.
El Kahzzani lived in Spain legally, and was arrested three times for drug offences, twice in Madrid and once in Ceuta, a Spanish autonomous city in North Africa, according to an El Pais’ source.
France has honoured the passengers who wrestled the shooter to the ground after he reportedly emerged from a toilet on the train armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, a hand gun and a knife – including the 62-year-old British man Chris Norman, who helped restrain the man with a neck tie.
The IT consultant has been awarded the Légion d’honneur by President Francios Hollande, alongside two off-duty American soldiers, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos, and their friend, student Anthony Sadler.
The French president said the passengers “gave us a lesson in courage, in will, and therefore in hope.” Following the ceremony, Norman said: “I just did what I had to do.”
A French-American teacher who is currently in hospital being treated for a bullet wound he received as the passengers subdued the attacker, and an off-duty French train driver who was also involved in the heroic effort, will both receive honours at a later date.