Train heroes to get top French medal

  • 24/08/2015
US ambassador to France Jane Hartley, US Airman First Class Spencer Stone, student Anthony Sadler and National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos (Reuters)
US ambassador to France Jane Hartley, US Airman First Class Spencer Stone, student Anthony Sadler and National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos (Reuters)

French President Francois Hollande will present three Americans and a Briton with the country's top Legion d'Honneur medal in recognition of their bravery in stopping a gunman on a packed train, an Elysee Palace source says.

The medals will be presented at a special ceremony on Monday.

A French citizen who also tackled the suspected jihadist, but wishes to remain anonymous, is to receive the honour at a later date, as will a Franco-American passenger recovering from being shot during the attack, the source told AFP on Sunday (local time).

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.

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 Honour.

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

AFP