ALGERIAN jihadists have killed French mountain guide Hervé Gourdel after France rejected their ultimatum to end its air raids on Islamic terrorists in Iraq.
Mr Gourdel, 55, from Nice, was a well-known guide in the Mercantour where he had a shop in Saint-Martin-Vésubie. He was married with two children, aged 16 and 21.
President Hollande reacted to news of his death, saying he had been “assassinated in a cowardly, cruel and shameful way”. The rector of the Grand Mosque in Cannes said he was “overwhelmed by a huge, indescribable anger” at what he called a “barbaric crime”.
Speaking at the United Nations in New York, Mr Hollande said: “Hervé Gourdel is dead because he was French, because France is fighting terrorism. He has been victim of a heinous crime whose perpetrators must be punished."
Mr Gourdel was kidnapped on Sunday while hiking in the Djurdjura national park in Algeria and yesterday the group Jund al-Khilafa released a video showing his decapitation entitled a “Message in blood for the French government”.
Last night in Sainte-Martin Vesubie townspeople held a silent tribute to Mr Gourdel and tomorrow evening a vigil will be held in Place Palais de la Justice in Nice.
His execution is the fourth by Islamic terrorists after the murders of two American journalists and a British aid worker in Syria and Iraq.
Mr Hollande was at the UN yesterday for a rare heads of state session of the Security Council. All 15 member states agreed to launch concerted efforts to stop Islamic radicals heading for Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State and backed a US motion to strengthen moves against “terrorist fighters”.
Photo: Hervé Gourdel Facebook support page