Nicky el Khazzani Wiki – Nicky el Khazzani Biography
A terrorist who planned an armed attack on a high-speed train traveling in Northern Europe but was defeated by passengers before killing any of them, was imprisoned for life.
A Moroccan national, Nicky el Khazzani, now 31 years old, was heavily armed on 21 August 2015 when the Thalys train moved to launch an attack from Belgium to France.
On Thursday, a Paris court found the accused guilty of attempted murder with the intention of terrorism.
The attack was thwarted by fast moving passengers. Among them were three Americans, two of whom were in the army at the time, who rushed and disarmed Khazzani.
US actor and director Clint Eastwood made a movie based on the events called ‘The 15:17 to Paris’.
Three accomplices were sentenced to between seven and 27 years in prison.
The court ruled that Khazzani would have carried out a “indiscriminate attack” that would be “particularly deadly” had it not been for “a combination of particularly unlikely circumstances”, including faulty ammunition and “the exceptional courage of the passengers”.
Khazzani showed no emotion as the verdict was read.
The verdict came just one day after a Paris court convicted 14 jihadist armed criminals who massacred weekly in Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris in January 2015.
Unlike Khazzani, who was immediately captured, all the gunmen in the Charlie Hebdo attack were killed after the massacres, causing only their accomplices to appear in court.
Khazzani was captured by passengers shortly after coming out of a toilet on the train with bare chest and heavy weapons.
‘I’m sorry from the depths of my heart,’ Khazzani said in a tearful final statement to the court. “What I do is tearing me apart, freezing the blood.”
He argued that although he was armed with an AK-47 automatic rifle and 300 rounds, he could not kill people at the last minute, so he gave up the plot.
However, the prosecution said it was only faulty ammunition and intervention from other passengers that stopped a massacre.
There were about 150 passengers in the wagon.
Among the intervening passengers were three Americans, two of whom – Spencer Stone and Alexander Skarlatos – American off-duty soldiers on vacation in Europe.
After testifying in court during the trial, Skarlatos said, “ I don’t feel like a hero because we are doing what we have to do to survive. ”
Khazzani claimed to have acted on the orders of Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, believed to be one of the brains behind the bloody attacks on bars and restaurants in Paris in November 2015 and killed American soldiers on the train.
However, the court ruled that the Americans on board had no distinctive sign to identify them as soldiers, and the size of their arsenal indicated that they were planning a wider slaughter.
Abaaoud was killed by police five days after he fired indiscriminately on crowded cafe terraces in Paris on the night of the 13 November attacks in the French capital.
Verdicts in the Charlie Hebdo and Thalys trials received the highest security alert with France, after three attacks in recent months blaming Islamist radicals.
Among them was the decapitation of a young Chechen refugee by teacher Samuel Paty, who showed his students controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
President Emmanuel Macron’s government has passed a bill to combat radical Islamist activity in France, a bill that has provoked anger in some Muslim countries.