Americans Receive Highest French Honor

France is awarding its highest honor, the Legion of Honor medal, to the three Americans and one Briton that subdued a heavily-armed passenger that was on their high-speed train that was heading from Amsterdam to Paris with 500 passengers.

Two of the Americans are military members, Airman First Class Spencer Stone and Army National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, and are also being considered for commendations from their respective branches. Longtime friend of the two, American civilian Anthony Sadler and a British businessman, Chris Norman, also received the Legion of Honor award. Two other passengers, French-American Mark Moogalian and a French citizen that declined to be identified, are also credited with stopping the attack.

The attacker has been identified as 26-year-old Moroccan Ayoub El-Khazzani and is being held by the police. According to his lawyer, El-Khazzani had traveled among Belgium, Germany and Austria, France and Andorra in the previous 6 months. El-Khazzani also claims to have found the weapons he used (a Kalashnikov rifle, Luger pistol, and a box cutter) in a suitcase that he found in a Brussels park. He also says that he was only planning on robbing the passengers in order to obtain money for food, and was not planning on injuring or killing anyone.

Despite this, El-Khazzani was known to French authorities and was tagged with the highest warning level used by French state security. He was similarly categorized by Belgian, German, and Spanish authorities.