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Video: Suspect’s father tells FRANCE 24 his son 'is not a terrorist'

© FRANCE 24 screen grab of a mosque attended by Thalys train attack suspect Ayoub el Khazzani in Spain

Video by Catherine VIETTE , Inigo HORCAJUELO , Marie BOLINCHES

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2015-08-25

The father of the suspected gunman behind the foiled attack on a Paris-bound train last Friday told FRANCE 24 that his son is not a terrorist, but just a “good boy who loves to play soccer and go fishing”.

French police are still questioning 25-year-old Moroccan national Ayoub el Khazzani, who boarded the high-speed train in Brussels armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle, a Luger automatic pistol, ammunition and a box-cutter, before being wrestled to the ground by a group of passengers after he pulled out his weapons.

Khazzani has denied any terrorist motive in the incident, saying he was simply planning to rob passengers – a claim disputed by French investigators.

Police in Spain, where Khazzani’s family lives in the southern city of Algeciras, have described him as a repeat drug offender, who attended a hardline mosque and travelled to Syria last year. French officials have said he was also known to French intelligence services.

FRANCE 24 spoke to his father Mohammed el Khazzani in Algeciras. Still in shock after the incident, he said his son was “a good boy, who loves to play soccer and go fishing, but he is not a terrorist”.

Neighbours also described the suspect as a quiet boy who caused no trouble.

“He was a 22-year-old guy, just like others of his age, having fun, going to the beach, working,” said Kamal Cheddad, president of the Islamic community of El Saladillo  neighbourhood in Algeciras.

Click on the player above to watch the report. Click here for a profile of the Thalys train attack suspect.

 

Date created : 2015-08-25

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