US service member injured in train attack attack in France

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Two Americans Overpower Gunman on a French Train

PARIS (AP) -- A gunman opened fire on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris Friday, wounding two people before being subdued by two American passengers, officials said.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, speaking in Arras in northern France where the suspected was detained, said one of the Americans was hospitalized with serious wounds. Their names were not immediately released.

Philippe Lorthiois, an official with the Alliance police union, said on i-Tele that the two Americans were soldiers.


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US service member injured in train attack attack in France
In this photo provided by Christina Cathleen Coons, a person lies on the floor after an incident on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday, Aug. 21, 2015. A gunman opened fire on the train wounding several people before American passengers subdued him, according to officials and one of the Americans involved. (Christina Cathleen Coon via AP)
Members of the police forensics team take part in an investigation next to a Thalys train on the platform at Arras train station, northern France, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. A gunman opened fire with an automatic weapon on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris Friday, wounding several people before being subdued by passengers, officials said. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
In this photo provided by Christina Cathleen Coons, a man is detained on a train platform after an incident on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris, Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, in Arras, northern France. The gunman opened fire on the train wounding several people before American passengers subdued him, according to officials and one of the Americans involved. (Christina Cathleen Coon via AP)
Crime and forensic investigators stand on a platform next to a Thalys train of French national railway operator SNCF at the main train station in Arras, northern France, on August 21, 2015. A gunman opened fire on a train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris, injuring three people before being overpowered by passengers, French state rail company SNCF and rescue services said. Two of the victims were seriously injured and at least one suffered gunshot wounds, an SNCF spokesman said, adding that the assailant was armed with guns and knives. The motives behind the attack were not immediately known. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
A Thalys train of French national railway operator, SNCF, stands at the main train station in Arras, northern France, after a gunman opened fire injuring three people, Friday, Aug. 21, 2015. A spokesman for France's interior ministry says three people were wounded in a shooting on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris Friday. Speaking on French television BFM, Pierre-Henri Brandet says a suspect is in custody and the train has been evacuated in Arras, 115 miles (185 kilometers) north of Paris, where the train stopped after the attack. (AP Photo)
Police officers investigate on a platform next to a Thalys train at Arras train station, northern France, Friday, Aug. 21, 2015. A gunman opened fire with an automatic weapon on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris Friday, wounding three people before being subdued by two American passengers, officials said. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, speaking in Arras in northern France where the suspected was detained, said one of the Americans was hospitalized with serious wounds. (AP Photo)
An injured man is carried away on a stretcher from the train station of Arras, northern France, after being injured on August 21, 2015 when a gunman opened fire on a train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris. A heavily armed man opened fire on a high-speed train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris on August 21, injuring at least two people before being overpowered by passengers. AFP PHOTO / STRINGER (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
Police arive to inspect the crime scene inside a Thalys train of French national railway operator SNCF at the main train station in Arras, northern France, on August 21, 2015. A gunman opened fire on a train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris, injuring three people before being overpowered by passengers, French state rail company SNCF and rescue services said. Two of the victims were seriously injured and at least one suffered gunshot wounds, an SNCF spokesman said, adding that the assailant was armed with guns and knives. The motives behind the attack were not immediately known. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
French soldiers patrol at Gare du Nord train station in Paris, France, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. A gunman prepared to open fire with an automatic weapon on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday, wounding several people before being subdued by passengers, officials said. (AP Photo/Binta)
French police officers patrol at Gare du Nord train station in Paris, France, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. A gunman prepared to open fire with an automatic weapon on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday, wounding several people before being subdued by passengers, officials said. (AP Photo/Binta)
Police work on a platform next to a Thalys train of French national railway operator SNCF at the main train station in Arras, northern France, on August 21, 2015. A gunman opened fire on a train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris, injuring three people before being overpowered by passengers, French state rail company SNCF and rescue services said. Two of the victims were seriously injured and at least one suffered gunshot wounds, an SNCF spokesman said, adding that the assailant was armed with guns and knives. The motives behind the attack were not immediately known. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
In this Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, image made from a video taken by Anthony Sadler, a bag and gun are seen on a train seat after an incident on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris. The man who boarded the train with a rifle before being tackled by passengers was on the radar of authorities in multiple countries and had ties to radical Islam, authorities said. (Anthony Sadler/Youtube via AP)
In this Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, image made from a video taken by Anthony Sadler, American Spencer Stone, top, attends to an injured passenger after an incident on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris. The man who boarded the train with a rifle before being tackled by Stone and other passengers, was on the radar of authorities in multiple countries and had ties to radical Islam, authorities said. (Anthony Sadler/Youtube via AP) 
In this Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, image made from a video taken by Anthony Sadler, a gunman lies on floor with arms tied behind his back, after an incident on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris. The man who boarded the train with a rifle before being tackled by passengers was on the radar of authorities in multiple countries and had ties to radical Islam, authorities said. (Anthony Sadler/Youtube via AP)

In this Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, image made from a video taken by Anthony Sadler, a bag and gun are seen on a train seat after an incident on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris. A gunman who boarded the train with a rifle before being tackled by passengers was on the radar of authorities in multiple countries and had ties to radical Islam, authorities said. (Anthony Sadler/Youtube via AP) 

Rescue workers are seen on a platform at the main train station in Arras, northern France, on August 21, 2015. A gunman opened fire on a train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris, injuring three people before being overpowered by passengers, French state rail company SNCF and rescue services said. Two of the victims were seriously injured and at least one suffered gunshot wounds, an SNCF spokesman said, adding that the assailant was armed with guns and knives. (Photo by PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
A Thalys train of French national railway operator SNCF stands at the main train station in Arras, northern France, on August 21, 2015. A gunman opened fire on a train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris, injuring three people before being overpowered by passengers, French state rail company SNCF and rescue services said. Two of the victims were seriously injured and at least one suffered gunshot wounds, an SNCF spokesman said, adding that the assailant was armed with guns and knives. The motives behind the attack were not immediately known. (Photo by PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
French police and train personnel stand outside the main train station in Arras, northern France, on August 21, 2015. A gunman opened fire on a train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris, injuring three people before being overpowered by passengers, French state rail company SNCF and rescue services said. Two of the victims were seriously injured and at least one suffered gunshot wounds, an SNCF spokesman said, adding that the assailant was armed with guns and knives. The motives behind the attack were not immediately known. (Photo by PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
French police stand inside the main train station in Arras, northern France, on August 21, 2015. A gunman opened fire on a train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris, injuring three people before being overpowered by passengers, French state rail company SNCF and rescue services said. Two of the victims were seriously injured and at least one suffered gunshot wounds, an SNCF spokesman said, adding that the assailant was armed with guns and knives. The motives behind the attack were not immediately known. (Photo by PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Police inspect a crime scene inside a Thalys train of French national railway operator SNCF at the main train station in Arras, northern France, on August 21, 2015. A gunman opened fire on a train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris, injuring three people before being overpowered by passengers, French state rail company SNCF and rescue services said. Two of the victims were seriously injured and at least one suffered gunshot wounds, an SNCF spokesman said, adding that the assailant was armed with guns and knives. The motives behind the attack were not immediately known. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Crime investigators look into the window of a Thalys train of French national railway operator SNCF at the main train station in Arras, northern France, on August 21, 2015. A gunman opened fire on a train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris, injuring three people before being overpowered by passengers, French state rail company SNCF and rescue services said. Two of the victims were seriously injured and at least one suffered gunshot wounds, an SNCF spokesman said, adding that the assailant was armed with guns and knives. The motives behind the attack were not immediately known. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
An ambulance stands outside the main train station in Arras, northern France, on August 21, 2015. A gunman opened fire on a train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris, injuring three people before being overpowered by passengers, French state rail company SNCF and rescue services said. Two of the victims were seriously injured and at least one suffered gunshot wounds, an SNCF spokesman said, adding that the assailant was armed with guns and knives. (Photo by PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
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In Washington, the Pentagon said it "can only confirm that one U.S. military member was injured in the incident. The injury is not life-threatening."

Contrary to early reports, Lorthiois said the attacker did not fire his automatic weapon but wounded one man with a handgun and the other with a blade of some kind.

Investigators from France's special anti-terror police are leading the investigation, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor's office said.

"As always where an act that could be terrorist in nature is involved, the greatest care and the greatest precision will be used," Cazeneuve said.

The suspect is a 26-year-old Moroccan, according to Sliman Hamzi, an official with the police union Alliance, who spoke on French television i-Tele.

Cazeneuve said the two Americans "were particularly courageous and showed great bravery in very difficult circumstances" and that "without their sangfroid we could have been confronted with a terrible drama."

Lorthiois said the gunman shot one victim and injured another with a bladed weapon. A third person, French actor Jean-Hugues Anglade, suffered a minor injury while activating the train's emergency alarm, Lorthiois said.

The attack took place at 1545 GMT while the Thalys train was passing through Belgium, according to a statement from the office President Francois Hollande. Hollande said he's spoken with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and the two leaders pledged to cooperate closely on the investigation.

A young woman said on i-Tele that she was in the carriage next to the one which the gunman struck.

"I wouldn't call it a fusillade, because even in the next wagon we didn't hear any shots," said Margaux, who declined to give her last name. She said passengers remained "relatively calm," and some showed no concern until police boarded the train.

Europe's major rail stations, such as Paris' Gare du Nord and Brussels' Gare du Midi, are patrolled by soldiers armed with rifles, but passengers can board most high-speed trains without passing through metal detectors or having their bags searched.

One exception is the Eurostar between Paris and London. Passengers on those trains must pass through a metal detector and have their bags scanned as well.

Thalys is owned by the French and Belgian railways and operates high-speed trains serving Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne, Germany.

French authorities have been on heightened alert since Islamic extremist attacks in January left 20 people dead, including the three attackers.

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Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.

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