ISIS-linked group holds Frenchman hostage

Screen grab of YouTube video reportedly shows kidnapped Frenchman Herve Pierre Gourdel. (Courtesy of YouTube)

An Algerian militant group claimed on Monday it had kidnapped a Frenchman a day earlier and gave Paris a 24-hour deadline to end its airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In a video posted online, the hostage, who identifies himself as Herve Pierre Gourdel, is shown squatting on the ground, flanked on both sides by masked armed members of Jund al-Khilifa, a group which has pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Al Hadath television and news agencies reported the kidnapping of a Frenchman in Algeria on Monday just hours after ISIS urged its followers to attack citizens of France and other countries taking part in the campaign against the militant group.

Jund al-Khilifa, or the “Soldiers of the Caliphate,” said it carried out Sunday's kidnapping in a mountainous region of eastern Algeria.

Gourdel, aged 55, was seized on Sunday evening as he was trekking in the Tizi Ouzou region of Kabylie, where Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has carried out deadly attacks this year.

In the video that appeared on social media, one of the masked members warns French President Francois Hollande that the group will murder the hostage if France did not end its military actions against ISIS in the next 24 hours.

France was the first European power to join the United States in conduction air strikes against ISIS targets in Iraq.

Following the ISIS warning Monday, France urged nationals living in or travelling to some 30 countries to exercise “utmost caution.”

The French foreign ministry said it had sent a warning note to its embassies “in around 30 countries” in Africa and the Middle East, according to Agence France-Presse.

(With Agencies)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:42 - GMT 06:42
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