The gunman in Friday's thwarted attack of a train bound for Paris flew to Istanbul from Berlin on May 10, following a path that has been used hundreds of times by people seeking to join the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
French authorities said German intelligence alerted them to the trip by Ayoub El-Khazzani, who was subdued by three Americans before he could unjam the automatic rifle and pistol he was carrying.
Little is known about the trip to Turkey, which authorities said lasted 16 days.
Speaking about Friday's events, El-Khazzani's attorney said that her client meant only to rob train passengers.
"He doesn't understand why this incident has taken on such great proportions," the lawyer, Sophie Duval, told the French newspaper Le Parisien. "To me, he looks to be somebody who was very sick, somebody very weak, as if suffering from malnutrition."
She said El-Khazzani found the weapons he is accused of using on the train in a suitcase he found in a park in Brussels. The weapons he found, allegedly, included the AK-47 rifle, a pistol, nine ammunition clips and a box cutter.
She said he'd been homeless since "his identity documents were stolen in Brussels." She said that after finding the weapons, he hatched a plan to rob the "many rich people" who would be on the train to Paris.
Tribune News Service