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Islamists threaten French hostage

Algerian islamist group has said it will kill a French tourist unless France ceases air strikes

ISLAMIST militants who abducted a French man in Algeria said they would execute him within 24 hours unless France ended their air strikes on Isis positions in Iraq.

French tourist Hervé Gourdel, 55, from Nice, was snatched by the group while on a hiking holiday with Algerian friends in the mountains of Kabylie, east of Algiers.

The group released a video last night in which Mr Gourdel is shown seated between two masked men who he said were ‘Soldiers of the Caliphate.’ In his message he said: “This armed group has asked me to demand that you do not intervene in Iraq. They are holding me hostage. I beg you, monsieur le président , to do all in your power to get me out of here.”

The kidnappers’ video was released on Monday shortly after an Isis spokesman had called on its supporters to kill infidels in all countries of the coalition – specifically American, Canadian, Australian and ‘mean and dirty’ French citizens – after France and the US had launched air strikes on Isis positions in Iraq.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve responded to the threat by saying that France is not afraid of Isis: “It’s not the first time we’ve been threatened, and we are prepared to respond to their threats.”

Mr Cazeneuve confirmed that the government was taking all necessary precautions to guarantee security for French citizens, though he also advised them to remain vigilant. He said that he knew that the country could “count on the solidarity of all of the citizens of France regardless of their origins or their faith.”

Photo: credit Said026/Wikimedia

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