Train Attack Suspect Watched Video Calling for Jihad Before Boarding, Officials Say

Prosecutors say the Moroccan man is now refusing to talk.

ByEmily Shapiro
August 25, 2015, 11:26 AM

— -- The armed man accused of attacking an Amsterdam-to-Paris train last week watched a YouTube video calling for Jihad before boarding the train, officials said today.

Alleged gunman Ayoub El-Khazzani watched the video on his cellphone, they added, which was activated the same day of the attack.

He also belonged to a known radical mosque, French Prosecutor Francois Molins said at a news conference today.

He was armed with an AKM assault rifle, cutter and pistol Friday, and used all the weapons in his fight with the passengers, Molins said. Two people suffered serious injuries in the attack in which three Americans helped disarm and subdue the gunman.

El-Khazzani was indicted on charges of attempted murder in connection with terrorism and affiliation to a terror group, officials said.

PHOTO: A Thalys train of French national railway operator, SNCF, stands at the main train station in Arras, northern France, after a gunman opened fire, Aug. 21, 2015.
A Thalys train of French national railway operator, SNCF, stands at the main train station in Arras, northern France, after a gunman opened fire, Aug. 21, 2015.
AP Photo

Molins said the attack seemed premeditated because El-Khazzani bought a first-class ticket costing 149 euros, or about $172, and refused to purchase a cheaper ticket on another train. El-Khazzani also had no credible explanation for how he got the money for a first-class ticket and how he obtained the weapons, Molins said.

Investigations are continuing, Molins said. El-Khazzani has refused to answer questions since Monday, Molins said.

El-Khazzani, who was born in Morocco, has a Spanish residence card, but claimed he has no fixed home, Molins said today.

Authorities raided his sister's home in Belgium Monday and determined El-Khazzani had stayed there recently, although he has denied it, Molins said.

El-Khazzani was taken into custody Friday when the train stopped in Arras, France, about two hours northeast of Paris.

El-Khazzani's first lawyer, Sophie David, told ABC News in a phone interview that El-Khazzani denied planning an attack and said he wanted to rob passengers and escape by jumping off the train. The suspect also denied any ties or affiliation to terror groups or radical Islam, David said.

American Spencer Stone, who was slashed with the gunman's box cutter, underwent surgery to reattach his thumb and has since been released from the hospital. American Mark Moogalian, who was shot in the attack, was listed in intensive care Monday.

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