In 2015, at the time of the Thalys attack, Ayoub El Khazzani, who opened fire inside the train, was only 26 years old. He is charged with “attempted assassinations in connection with a terrorist enterprise” and “criminal terrorist association”. According to the conclusions of the investigation carried out at the material time, this Moroccan citizen was acting on the instruction of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the coordinator of the terrorist cell that struck France and Belgium in 2015 and 2016. Despite the many reactions to condemn the young man’s deed, his family describes a candid man, who couldn’t hurt anyone, reports 20minutes.fr.
At the bar of the Assize Court, Zahra A. his mother is surprised to hear that her son was able to shoot a man. “He shot? But he told me he couldn’t shoot… ”. Aged 62, the mother assures that she was unaware that a Thalys passenger had been seriously injured by her son on August 21, 2015. After apologizing to the passengers on the train, she asks that justice be “lenient” “With the 31-year-old jihadist, tried for eleven days, because” there was no death “, and he” regrets “his gesture.
According to his relatives, Ayoub El Khazzani is an ordinary young man. He was born in Morocco and lived there until he was 18. In 2007, he moved to Spain with his parents and five brothers and sisters. Salma, her 22-year-old sister, speaks of her brother as a “nice boy” who “worked a lot”. She does not understand how and why he got drawn into this kind of situation. “We were brought up with a view to doing good to others. He got angry sometimes but his interior was very pure. He was never aggressive, ”she said very moved.
Another of his sisters, 23-year-old Oumaima, assures us that they grew up in an atmosphere of peace and love and that nothing could justify what his brother is accused of. “In Spain, everything was normal, we were a reunited family, thank God. There was love, warmth among the siblings ”. She evokes the memory of a brother who was “kind” and who had “a clean heart”, even if Ayoub El Khazzani has already had problems with the Spanish justice, reports 20minutes.fr.
Despite the portrait painted by his family, the Spanish authorities report that the accused and his brother Imram were known to call for jihad in Syria among the faithful of the Taqwa mosque. But the mother swears that her son did not do such a thing. According to Oumaima, his sister, he had never mentioned before her his plan to go to Syria to wage jihad. “If I had heard him, I wouldn’t have let him go,” she said.
As their mother and sister Salma did, she, in turn, apologized to the court and the victims on board the train, before asking for clemency from the court to her brother. ” It is my brother. Through our mistakes we learn, we all make mistakes and sins, we all deserve a second chance in our lives. “