Herve Gourdel, a French mountaineer whose life was threatened in a video released by the Caliphate Soldiers, has been killed by the Algerian militant organization. The Caliphate Soldiers have been linked to both al Qaeda and ISIS. Gourdel was 55 and worked as a mountaineering guide, and originally comes from Nice, France.
The Caliphate Soldiers are also known as Jund al-Khilaf.
His friends say Gourdel went to Algeria for a hiking holiday and also to explore a new climbing route.
“I was born in Nice in 1959 and soon discovered the mountain in Mercantour (in the French Alps) with my father and walked the first peaks. So I’ve had one desire: to return as often as possible,” Gourdel once said.
The video was posted on jihadist sites on Wednesday. The militants said they killed Gourdel because France failed to respond to a 24-hour deadline to stop its military assault on the IS group in Iraq.
Like other ISIS videos, this video does not show the actual execution, though the aftermath is more graphic, and the militants could be described as even more callous.
In the video, the armed men claim to belong to the Islamist militant group Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria, and pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
After Gourdel is killed, the terrorists place his head upon his side, and then put it into a plastic bag and then they hold up the head.
Speaking in New York, where he is attending the UN General Assembly meeting, French president Hollande said France would continue its military operations against the IS group in Iraq.
News of the brutal slaying came as the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a US-drafted resolution that compels all countries to adopt laws that would make it a serious crime for their nationals to join jihadist groups such as IS and al Qaeda’s regional branch, the al Nusra Front.
While chairing the UN Security Council session on Wednesday, US President Barack Obama expressed his solidarity with France. Looking at his French counterpart at the table, Obama said, “We stand with you and the French people as you grieve this terrible loss and as you stand up against terror and the defense of liberty.”
France has joined the US in carrying out air strikes against the IS group. On September 19, French fighter jets bombed a fuel and weapons depot outside the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.