ISIS-linked Algeria group beheads Frenchman
An Algeria militant group posted a video Wednesday showing the beheading of French hostage Herve Gourdel saying the killing was a “message of blood” to France over its role in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Gourdel, a 55-year-old mountaineer from Nice, was abducted on Sunday after ISIS urged its followers to attack citizens of the United States, France and other nations involved in the coalition against the militant group. His kidnappers gave Paris a 24-hour ultimatum to end its airstrike against ISIS in Iraq.
French President Francois Hollande confirmed Wednesday the killing and vowed to continue fighting “terrorism everywhere.”
“Herve Gourdel is dead because he is the representative of a people – ours – that defends human dignity against barbarity,” Hollande said, speaking along the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York. “My determination is total and this attack only reinforces it. We will continue to fight terrorism everywhere.”
The video, which was posted online by Jund al-Khalifah, or “Soldiers of the Caliphate,” opens with a news segment in Arabic reporting the French air strikes on ISIS targets in northern Iraq.
The segment then cuts to a banner saying: “a message with blood to the French government” in Arabic and French.
Gourdel is seen kneeling down on the ground with his hands tied behind his back as a group of masked gunmen stand behind him.
“Let the killing of this tainted Frenchman bring Jund al-Khalifah in Algeria closer to Allah,” a gunman in the center says, reading from a sheet of paper.
The men then addressed the leader of ISIS, chanting “whatever you wish emir [the name ISIS members call ISIS chief], whatever you wish.”
Gourdel also briefly speaks in the video before the men force him to the ground and pull out blades. The video cuts just before the execution.
The Algerian government condemned the “hateful” murder and said it was determined “to continue the struggle against terrorism in all its forms and ensure the protection and security of foreign nationals present on its territory.”