Algerian extremists allied with the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, have decapitated a French hostage after France ignored their demand to stop airstrikes in Iraq, bringing the total of recent beheadings to four.
A group calling itself Jund Al-Khilafah — or Soldiers of the Caliphate — had said they would kill French mountaineer Herve Gourdel after abducting him Sunday unless France ended its airstrikes against Islamic State fighters in Iraq within 24 hours. The French government insisted it would not back down.
In the video, masked gunmen from the newly formed group that split away from Al-Qaeda’s North Africa branch, pledged their allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and said they were fighting his enemies. They criticized the French attacks in Iraq as well as its intervention against radical Islamists in Mali.
Gourdel, a 55-year-old mountaineering guide from Nice, was seized in the Djura Djura mountains of northern Algeria on Sunday during a hiking trip. His Algerian companions were released.
The video resembled those showing the beheadings of two American journalists and a British aid worker in recent weeks, but instead of showing President Barack Obama, it showed French President Francois Hollande.
France started airstrikes in Iraq on Friday, the first country to join the U.S. military campaign against the Islamic State fighters there.
“Our values are at stake,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Wednesday after hearing about the video. He would not comment further, but minutes earlier he insisted that France would continue fighting in Iraq as long as necessary.
((Sourced from National Post))