Incident Summary:

08/21/2015: An assailant attempted to attack passengers on a Thalys high-speed train as it was traveling near Arras, Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, France. However, several passengers were able to subdue the assailant, who was carrying multiple firearms and a box cutter. At least two passenger, including one citizen of the United States, were injured during the scuffle. Ayoub El Qahzzani, a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), claimed responsibility for the incident.




Western Europe

region/u.s. state:


Near Arras

Location Details:
The incident occurred on a high-speed train traveling between Amsterdam and Paris

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Armed Assault
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Transportation
Name of Entity Thalys
Specific Description Train Passengers
Nationality of Target Multinational
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage No
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Firearms Automatic Weapon
Firearms Handgun
Melee Knife or Other Sharp Object
Weapon Details
An AK-47 assault rifle, an automatic pistol pistol, knives, and a box cutter were used in the attack.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information The victims included Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Jean-Hugues Anglade. Casualty numbers for this attack conflict across sources. Following GTD protocol, the majority reliable estimates are reported here. The train was traveling from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Paris, France.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Personal claim)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 1
Number of Captured Perpetrators 1
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 3 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 3
Number of U.S. Injured 1
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
"Train attack suspect confesses after revelations in academic journal," CNN, December 19, 2016.
"3 hurt in shooting aboard train in France," CNN, August 21, 2015.
"Americans Foil Gunman on French Train, Officials Say," New York Times, August 21, 2015.