Algeria army kills militant behind Frenchman murder
Troops had killed Gouri Abdelmalek, leader of the Caliphate Soldiers group, which declared its allegiance to ISIS
The Algerian army confirmed on Tuesday that it has killed the head of the militant Jund al-Khilafa group that decapitated a Frenchman in September.
The body of Abdelmalek Gouri, who claimed responsibility for the beheading of Frenchman Herve Gourdel, was identified at the end of an operation in the town of Isser "that allowed us to eliminate three terrorists," the army said in a statement.
Earlier on Tuesday, Algerian television network Nahar TV reported that Gouri, whose group has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) organization that has overrun large parts of Iraq and Syria, was killed in Sidi Daoud, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Algiers.
On Saturday, the army said it killed three militant gunmen in a mountainous area near Sidi Daoud, and that one of them was a “dangerous criminal” wanted since 1995, when the hunt for Gouri was launched.
Soldiers seized a large quantity of guns, ammunition and explosives during the operation.
On December 11, Algerian Justice Minister Tayeb Louh announced that soldiers had killed two members of Jund al-Khilafa implicated in the murder of French mountain guide Herve Gourdel.
Gourdel, 55, was kidnapped in September and later beheaded by the group that was formed at the end of August after splintering from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and pledging allegiance to ISIS.
Violence involving armed Islamists has fallen considerably since the civil war of the 1990s, but groups linked to AQIM continue to launch attacks in the northeast, mostly on security forces.