U.S. Troops Stop Gunman on French Train

Two U.S. soldiers aboard the high-speed Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris heard from the nearby bathroom a familiar and frightening sound: the bolt being thrown on a Kalashnikov rifle as someone prepared to fire. (This is according to French regional newspaper La Voix du Nord and Paris-Match, which happened to have a reporter on the train.) When the soldiers confronted the man inside, a wild scene ensued as the shooter struggled with the passengers, using a knife as well as a gun to try to kill them. At least three passengers were injured, including two with serious wounds, one from bullets, the other from the knife. It is not yet clear if the two U.S. soldiers, who were in civilian clothes, were among the wounded. Finally, passengers were able to subdue the shooter, who reportedly was of North African origin. He was taken into custody when the train stopped at the town of Arras in northern France.

No terrorist links to the incident have been established thus far, but France has been on edge since the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket massacres in January. High-speed trains such as the Thalys are supposed to have heightened security as part of a nationwide alert, but there are no baggage checks except on the Eurostar, which runs beneath the English Channel.

— Christopher Dickey