The President of France awarded the Legion of Honor yesterday to three Americans and one Briton who thwarted a heavily armed terrorist on a train in northern France last week. The Legion of Honor is the highest civilian decoration in France.
Airman First Class Spencer Stone, Oregon National Guard member Alek Skarlatos, and college student Anthony Sadler tackled and disarmed Muslim terrorist Ayoub El-Khazzani on Friday as he attempted to massacre innocent civilians aboard a high-speed train.
French President François Hollande thanked the heroes for “risking everything including your own lives” to prevent the “massacre” El-Khazzani would have caused.
Khazzani was armed with an AK-47, a pistol, and a knife and was reportedly carrying three hundred rounds of ammunition. He was able to launch the attack despite being listed as a security threat by both French and Spanish authorities.
Hollande warned yesterday that France must be prepared for further domestic terror attacks, telling journalists that Friday’s incident would not be the last.
“We are always exposed and Friday’s aggression on the Thalys Amsterdam-Paris train could have resulted in monstrous carnage without the courage of several passengers,” he said. “This attack is fresh proof that we must prepare for other attacks and therefore protect ourselves.”
Similar “homegrown terror” attacks have been launched in the United States this year in Garland, Texas and Chattanooga, Tennessee.