Three young Americans, who are credited with thwarting a terrorist attack on a French train, were given France’s highest honor Monday morning.
NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley tells our Newscast unit that French President François Hollande welcomed Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos to Elysee Palace in Paris and made them Knights of the Legion of Honor.
Eleanor filed this report:
“One by one, President Hollande pinned the medal and ribbon to the chests of the three Americans and one British citizen who had tackled the gunman in the train.
“The Legion of Honor was created by Napoleon, and is reserved to those who give outstanding service to the nation.
“Hollande said the men’s selfless courage had given a lesson in humanity to all the world.
“‘We cannot be afraid as long as we have individuals like this in our midst,’ he said.
“A Frenchman who also jumped on the gunman is still in hospital and wishes to remain anonymous. The suspect, a 26 year old Moroccan man, is still being questioned by French antiterrorist police.”
From the AP, here’s video of the ceremony:
Meanwhile, France 24 reports that the alleged gunman, 25-year-old Ayoub el Khazzani, says he was not plotting a terrorist attack. Instead, his lawyer said, he says he was trying to rob one passenger.
“He said he merely stumbled upon a weapons stash in a park in Belgium and decided to use it to rob passengers, according to Sophie David, a lawyer assigned to his case when he was taken off the train in Arras, northern France.
“‘He is dumbfounded that his act is being linked to terrorism,’ David told BFM-TV, adding that Khazzani said he was homeless.”