A splinter group that claims links to the militant group Islamic State (Isis) released a video on Monday night of a French tourist abducted on Sunday while on holiday in Algeria. The group has threatened to execute him unless France halts air strikes on Isis positions in Iraq. The French foreign ministry confirmed the authenticity of the video and identified the hostage as 55-year-old Hervé Gourdel.
Gourdel was reportedly snatched while walking in the mountainous region of Kabylie, near the capital, Algiers. The French government said it was not clear whether the man had been kidnapped by bandits or Islamic fundamentalists.
In the video, the man said he was being held by the “Soldiers of the Caliphate”, a group affiliated to Isis. The kidnappers said they would kill him unless France ended its involvement in the coalition against Isis. Last week France joined the United States in air strikes against positions held in Iraq by the extremists.
The hostage was filmed sitting between two armed and masked men. He delivered a short message to France’s president, François Hollande. “This armed group has asked me to demand that you do not intervene in Iraq. They are holding me hostage. I beg you, Monsieur Président, to do all in your power to get me out of here,” he said.
Gourdel, reported to be a mountain guide from Nice, was said to have arrived a few days before on a tourist visa. He had rented a chalet at Tikjda, 75 miles (120km) east of the capital, with Algerian friends. He was hiking with two others and had spent the night at…. Read the full article. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/22/algerian-islamists-threaten-to-execute-french-hostage-unless-france-halts-isis-attacks