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4 train heroes honored in France as 5th is identified

Three childhood American friends and a Brit who disarmed a terrorist gunman aboard a speeding train were awarded France’s highest award Monday for thwarting the frightening attack.

Americans Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler joined British traveler Chris Norman in a gutsy takedown that resembled a scene from a Jason Bourne movie.

The foursome pounced on and subdued a gunman Friday aboard a packed train headed to Paris, derailing a potential massacre by disarming the determined gunman.

AMERICAN HEROES IN FRANCE RECALL FIGHT WITH TRAIN GUNMAN

“By their courage, they saved lives,” said President François Hollande. “They gave us an example of what is possible to do in these kinds of situations. Three Americans and one Englishman. You risked your lives to defend an ideal, the ideal of liberty and freedom.”

Gunman and suspected terrorist Ayoub el-Khazzani, stormed the Amsterdam-to-Paris train with a slew of weapons when he was spotted by a French-American professor, Mark Moogalian, who became suspicious after el-Khazzani lingered in a train bathroom.

Mark Moogalian, a 51-year-old professor at the University of Paris, wrestled an AK-47 away from a suspected terrorist on a Paris-bound train Friday.facebook

Mark Moogalian, a 51-year-old professor at the University of Paris, wrestled an AK-47 away from a suspected terrorist on a Paris-bound train Friday.

When el-Khazzani came out of the bathroom, he was carrying a weapon. Another train passenger tried to tackle the gunman while Moogalian snatched away the AK-47, his wife said.

But the gunman shot Moogalian in the neck with a second weapon.

PARIS-BOUND TRAIN ATTACKER ‘FOUND’ SUITCASE FULL OF GUNS IN PARK: ATTORNEY

When the gunman recovered the rifle, four other passengers sprang into action. Stone, an off-duty U.S. Air Force member, said he put el-Khazzani in a chokehold while his buddies Sadler and Skarlatos punched and beat the struggling shooter, along with Norman, the British passenger.

As the four fought to restrain the attacker, el-Khazzani pulled out a box cutter and sliced Stone’s thumb.

© Stringer France / Reuters/REUTERS

Moogalian was shot with the suspect’s back-up pistol after he took away the gunman’s rifle, his family said.

“It seemed like he kept pulling more weapons left and right,” Stone said Monday.

When the group finally had el-Khazzani subdued, Stone ran to help the wounded professor.

“He put his finger on the wound in the middle of his neck and he stayed in that position for the whole journey,” said Moogalian’s wife, Isabelle. “I think he really saved my husband’s life.”

AMERICAN HERO WHO CHARGED FRANCE TRAIN GUNMAN SAVED BLEEDING PASSENGER’S LIFE WHILE FIGHTING HIS OWN INJURIES

Hollande plans to hold a separate ceremony to recognize Moogalian when he recovers, officials said.

“He never said a word,” said Sadler, a student at California State University in Sacramento. “At that time, it was either do something or die.”

While security officials claim the 26-year-old was sympathetic to ISIS, his lawyer said he was trying to rob the train, not commit a terror attack.

Back home, the Americans were being hailed as heroes.

“It is clear that their heroic actions may have prevented a far worse tragedy,” said President Obama, who phoned the three Americans.

Stone’s brother, Everett, agreed.

“He pretty much sums up the definition of what it means to be a warrior,” Everett stone told CNN. “He should not be alive at all, and he saved every single person’s life on that train.”

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mwagner@nydailynews.com

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Nation / World – NY Daily News

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