Hollande confirms French hostage 'assassinated' in Algeria
Jund al-Khilafa, claiming to be affiliated with ISIL, issues video apparently showing decapitation of Herve Pierre Gourdel

French President Francois Hollande has confirmed French hostage Herve Pierre Gourdel has been "assassinated" by a militant group in Algeria claiming to be affiliated with ISIL.

Hollande's comments came on Wednesday after the Jund al-Khilafa group published a video apparently showing the beheading of Gourdel, who was kidnapped over the weekend in Tizi-Ouzou, north central Algeria.

Speaking in New York where he was attending the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Hollande said that Gourdel had been "cruelly murdered".

He said: "Gourdel was killed because he is French ... because France is fighting DAECH (ISIL)."

"This aggression helps to reinforce our determination. We will continue to fight against DAECH. Military air operations will, therefore, continue."

Severed head

The video, entitled "Blood Message to France", apparently showed kidnapped French national Gourdel kneeling before four armed men with his hands bound behind his back and staring at the ground, reported French TV channel BFMTV on Wednesday.

His captors then read a script announcing he would be killed, wrestled him to the ground and placed a knife at his throat.

The video then cuts to an image of his decapitated body, and shows the captors holding his severed head.

The Jund al-Khilafa, group claiming to be affiliated with ISIL, had issued a video on Monday threatening to execute Gourdel within 24 hours, if Hollande failed to stop military operations in Iraq against ISIL.

In the video, Gourdel, 55, said he was taken by the "Caliphate soldiers of Algeria".

Known hideout

He said: "Since yesterday - Sunday - I am in the hands of an Algerian armed group. This armed group asks me to make the request to you (Francois Hollande) not to intervene in Iraq. They are holding me as a hostage."

"I urge you to do whatever is in your power to get me out of this mess. Thank you."

Gourdel was a mountain guide who arrived in Algeria on September 20.

The mountainous Tizi Ouzou region is a known hideout for North Africa's al-Qaeda branch.

The Jund al-Khilafa group broke away from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) last week and pledged allegiance to ISIL.

French leaders have continuously said they will not negotiate with the group.


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Last Modified: 2014-09-25 09:08:47
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