American soldiers disarm gunman who opened fire with a Kalashnikov on express train in France

Clara Guibourg
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French police arrested the gunman near the French-Belgian border (Source: Getty)

A gunman armed with a Kalashnikov opened fire on a express train in France before being overpowered by three Americans.

In what’s been described as a “heroic” intervention, three men stopped the heavily armed gunman when he opened fire on a train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris at 6pm on Friday evening.

The man reportedly came out from the train toilet holding the automatic rifle and opened fire in the carriage, but was tackled to the ground by the three quick-thinking Americans, two of whom are soldiers.

Two people were injured in the attack, including one of the Americans who was knifed in the neck when wrestling the gunman to the ground, and is currently being treated for serious, but not life-threatening injuries.

French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve praised the men's actions in "extremely difficult circumstances":

Thanks to them we have averted a drama. They were particularly courageous and showed extreme bravery.

It’s not known what the motives were behind the attack, but French anti-terrorist police arrested the gunman near the French-Belgian border.

When arrested, the gunman was found to have several other weapons in his luggage. Apart from the Kalashnikov, he was also carrying an automatic pistol and several razor blades.

US president Barack Obama has praised the men’s “courage and quick thinking”, calling their actions “heroic”.