Despite the suspect’s initial claims that he had been hungry and acting purely out of self-interest when he held up a Paris-bound train last Friday, the French government is now officially investigating the foiled attempt by 26-year-old Moroccan gunman Ayoub El-Khazzani as a terrorist act.

As The New York Times reported Tuesday, El-Khazzani’s consumption of streaming media just prior to the attack — which a trio of Americans, along with British and French citizens, stopped — represents a major fact informing French officials’ strategy:

French authorities formally opened a terrorism investigation on Tuesday after a thwarted attack on a high-speed train last week, saying the suspected gunman had watched a jihadi video onboard minutes before the violence.

The decision to open an investigation was based on the actions by 26-year-old Moroccan suspect Ayoub El-Khazzani on the train Friday night and information from other European authorities about his travels and apparent links to radical Islam, prosecutor Francois Molins said.

Molins said El-Khazzani notably watched the online video on his phone minutes before he walked through the Amsterdam-to-Paris train carrying an assault rifle and other weapons. Authorities say that they found the suspect’s phone in a bag left in the train.

The paper added that investigators will probably file preliminary charges against El-Khazzani soon.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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