Jihadists 'behead' Frenchman who was abducted in Algeria| MENAFN.COM

Tuesday, 17 May 2022 11:22 GMT

Jihadists 'behead' Frenchman who was abducted in Algeria

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Jihadists linked to the Islamic State group claimed to have beheaded a Frenchman abducted in Algeria in a video posted online yesterday, after Paris rejected their demand to halt strikes in Iraq.

Herve Gourdel, 55, was kidnapped on Sunday by Jund Al Khilifa, or "Soldiers of the Caliphate," while hiking in a national park that was once a magnet for tourists but later became a sanctuary for Islamists.

The purported beheading followed France's rejection of the group's 24-hour ultimatum to halt air raids in Iraq. The video, entitled "A Message with Blood to the French Government", employs a similar style to those used in previous videos by IS showing the beheadings of three Western hostages. It begins with a clip of French President Francois Hollande at a press conference where he announced strikes against IS in Iraq.

The video then shows Gourdel on his knees with his hands behind his back in front of four armed militants with covered-up faces. The Frenchman briefly expresses his love for his family before one of the jihadists reads a speech in which he denounces the actions of the "French criminal crusaders" against Muslims in Algeria, Mali and Iraq.

The jihadist says the beheading is to "avenge the victims in Algeria ... and support the caliphate" proclaimed by IS in Iraq and Syria.

There was no immediate confirmation from Paris about the authenticity of the video, which was posted on jihadist websites.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls, in a speech yesterday vowed not to give in to blackmail.

"If we show weakness in the face of this threat, we encourage these cowards to continue their work of death," he said. "We will stay committed... for as long as is needed for the Iraqi army to gain the upper hand over Daesh," he added.

But he promised that France's military commitment would be limited to aerial operations, and would not involve troops on the ground. "It's not our intervention that is exposing us to terrorism. The threat has been there for a long time. And that's why we are acting," Valls said. Gourdel only arrived in Algeria on Saturday and was seized the following day while hiking in the heart of the Djurdjura National Park here.

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