NEWS

Phone records link 2015 French train attacker to Athens

YIANNIS SOULIOTIS

TAGS: Terrorism

More than two years after a man was thwarted by three off-duty American soldiers after opening fire on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris, the investigation of European law enforcement authorities into the terrorist attack has revealed a connection with Greece.

Well-informed sources have told Kathimerini that Greek police and judicial authorities received a file a few weeks ago containing findings from German and Belgian police that link the suspect, 26-year-old Moroccan national Ayoub El Khazzani, to Athens, prompting an investigation by the local counterterrorism squad.

According to the investigation into Khazzani, the young man lived in Spain for a while and was put on a terror watch list in February 2014. A few months later, he allegedly traveled to Syria, where he received weapons training from Islamist militants.

After initially stonewalling investigators as to the train incident, Khazzani allegedly confessed in December 2016 to having been recruited by Abdelhamid Abaaoud, mastermind of the Paris and Brussels attacks in 2015 and 2016 respectively, and erstwhile tenant of two apartments in Athens, in the neighborhoods of Pangrati and Sepolia.

Abaaoud is believed to have used forged documents to travel between Europe and Syria via Greece posing as a refugee.

It has also emerged that the cell phone Khazzani used to open a Facebook account was registered with a Greek telecoms company, while several calls he had made were to Greek numbers.

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