France widens vigilance alert to 40 countries

A placard with a portrait of mountain guide Frenchman Herve Gourdel which reads Tribute to Herve Gourdel is displayed in front of the Lycee de la Montagne High School in Valdeblore near Saint-Martin-Vesubie, September 25, 2014. (Reuters)

Paris said Thursday it had widened its vigilance alert for nationals abroad from 31 to 40 countries including Asian nations, after a French hostage was beheaded in Algeria by jihadists linked to the Islamic State group.

“We have extended the call (for vigilance) to some 10 more countries,” Didier Le Bret, head of the foreign ministry's crisis centre, told AFP, adding Muslim countries in Asia were now included.

A day before, the Algeria militant group posted a video showing the beheading of French hostage Herve Gourdel saying the killing was a “message of blood” to France over its role in launching air strikes in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Gourdel, a 55-year-old mountaineer from Nice, was abducted on Sunday after ISIS urged its followers to attack citizens of the United States, France and other nations involved in the coalition against the militant group. His kidnappers gave Paris a 24-hour ultimatum to end its airstrike against ISIS in Iraq.

Vow to continue

French President Francois Hollande confirmed Wednesday the killing and vowed to continue fighting “terrorism everywhere.”

On Thursday, France carried out a second round of air strikes in Iraq, government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said, as part of a U.S.-led coalition helping the Iraqi army fight Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, Agence France-Presse reported.

Meanwhile, French Muslims were on Thursday called to rally against the “barbaric” beheading of Gourdel.

Dalil Boubakeur, the president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) -- an official representative for the country’s estimated five million Muslims -- called for the gathering at the Paris Mosque on Friday afternoon.

He urged Muslims and their friends to join a “moment of contemplation and solidarity” after the beheading of 55-year-old Gourdel, which has plunged the country into shock and grief.


(With AFP and Reuters)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43