France to Honor Train Heroes with Highest Accolade

French President Francois Hollande will present three Americans and a Briton with the country's top Legion d'Honneur medal on Monday, in recognition of their bravery in stopping a gunman on a packed train last Friday, AFP reports.

A French citizen who also tackled the suspected jihadist, but wishes to remain anonymous, is to receive the honor at a later date, as will a Franco-American passenger recovering from being shot during the attack, an Elysee source told the news agency on Sunday.

The Legion d'Honneur, France's highest accolade, was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and is awarded in recognition of both civil and military achievements.

The train passengers are to be awarded the Chevalier de l'ordre national de la Legion d'Honneur, or Knight of the national Order of the Legion of Honor, according to AFP.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, U.S. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley and members of France's government including Prime Minister Manuel Valls are all expected to attend the award ceremony.

Alleged gunman Ayoub El Khazzani opened fire on a Paris-bound train on Friday, injuring a man before being wrestled to the floor and subdued by Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler and Briton Chris Norman.

The 25-year-old Moroccan national has denied that he intended to carry out a terror attack, claiming he only planned to rob the passengers on the train.

El Khazzani lived in Spain and was known to the French authorities after being flagged as a potential jihadist by Spanish intelligence services.

Spanish daily El Pais reported on the weekend that he moved to France last year and had visited Syria.

Friday’s attack came a month after French authorities foiled a plot by four would-be extremists to attack military bases.

The suspects, aged between 16 and 23, were arrested at four separate locations around France.

The announcement of the foiled attack came several weeks after Yassin Salhi, 35, beheaded his boss in an attack on a gas factory in Lyon during the Muslim month of Ramadan.

Salhi sent a gruesome selfie photo of himself and the severed head to a WhatsApp number in Canada after the attack. He was apprehended by security forces and later confessed to killing his boss.

The assault took place six months after 17 were killed in Islamist attacks in Paris that began with the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/199832

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