At least three people have been wounded, following a shooting by a gunman, who was later overpowered by passengers, on a French high speed train, between Amsterdam and Paris.
Three people were wounded in a shooting by a machine gun-toting attacker on a high-speed train between Amsterdam and Paris on Friday, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said, and unconfirmed reports said U.S. Marines had overpowered the assailant.
A man was arrested when the train stopped at Arras station in northern France. A ministry spokesman said the attacker’s motives were not known. Cazeneuve said the French anti-terrorism prosecutor was investigating the case.
At a news conference, the minister said two US citizens had been on board and helped disarm the attacker.
“Without their courage we would have surely faced a terrible tragedy,” Cazeneuve said.
France’s Voix du Nord newspaper said three Americans helped overpower the shooter, and that they were Marines.
The wounded included a French actor, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Cazeneuve said, as well as an American and a Briton.
The minister urged caution over the likely nature of the attack, which he said was a matter for the prosecutor to investigate.
“As always where an act that could be terrorist in nature is involved, the greatest care and the greatest precision will be used,” he said.
Christophe Piednoel, a spokesman for French railway SNCF, said on iTele television: “The man was armed with automatic weapons and blades. He was stopped by passengers.”
Police union official Slimane Hamzi said the 26-year-old man had said he was of Moroccan origin.
France has been on high security alert since Islamist militants killed 17 people in and around Paris in January.
Thalys is partly-owned by SNCF and Belgian railways. French President Francois Hollande said he had talked to Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and that the two governments were cooperating in the investigation.
Michel said in a tweet: “I condemn the terrorist attack… and express my sympathy for the victims.”