In the video posted by his killers, he is shown on his knees with his hands behind his back in front of four masked, armed militants.
BBC reports: France has confirmed that an Algerian jihadist group linked to Islamic State (IS) militants has beheaded tourist Herve Gourdel, seized on Sunday.
“Four Frenchmen kidnapped in Niger were freed in October 2013 amid reports of a 20m-euro (£16m; £25m) ransom being paid. The government in Paris denied that was the case.”
Jund al-Khilafa killed Mr Gourdel, 55, after its deadline for France to halt air strikes on IS in Iraq ran out.
“As grave as this situation is, we will not give into any blackmail, any pressure, any ultimatum no matter how odious, how despicable.”
— French President Francois Hollande
He said that French air strikes which began on IS targets in Iraq last week would continue.
Jund al-Khilafa posted a video of Mr Gourdel being killed which was entitled “Message of blood for the French government”.
IS itself has beheaded three Western hostages since August: US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and British aid worker David Haines. Their deaths were all filmed and posted online.
Who are Jund al-Khilafa?
- Previously part of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which grew out of Algerian Islamist groups involved in 1990s civil war
- Carried out numerous attacks in Kabylie region – in April, ambushed an army convoy, leaving 11 soldiers dead
- Many residents have fled the region’s forests and mountains in recent years because of insecurity
- Group said to be led by Abdelmalek Gouri, known as Khaled Abou Slimane, 37
- On 14 September, pledged allegiance to Islamic State
The group has also threatened to kill Alan Henning, a taxi driver from the UK, who was seized while on an aid mission to Syria in December.
On Sunday, it warned it would target Americans and other Western citizens, “especially the spiteful and filthy French”.
Police have been guarding Mr Gourdel’s home in the French city of Nice. He worked as a mountain guide in the Mercantour national park north of the city. Read the rest of this entry »