Fighters linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group have beheaded a Frenchman abducted in Algeria, after giving a 24-hour deadline to Paris.
Herve Gourdel, a 55-year-old hiker from the southern French city of Nice, was kidnapped on Sunday by Jund al-Khalifa, which demanded France stop its air strikes against ISIL in Iraq.
US terrorism watchdog SITE Intelligence Group said Jund al-Khilafah armed group released a video online purporting to show the beheading on Wednesday.
French President Francois Hollande confirmed killing of Gourdel and denounced the “cruel and cowardly” act.
The latest footage came two days after Jund al-Khilafa group released a video showing Gourdel pleading to his government not to intervene in Iraq.
“I am in the hands of Jund al-Khilifa. This group is asking me to ask you [Hollande] to not intervene in Iraq. I ask you to do everything to get me out of this bad situation and I thank you.”
France launched its first air attacks on ISIL fighters last week, after joining a US-led coalition to “degrade and destroy” the threat posed by the group.
Jund al-Khilafa, or “the soldiers of the caliph”, are believed to have broken away from the local al-Qaeda affiliate and pledged allegiance to ISIL.
The abduction was announced on the same day ISIL’s spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, called on supporters to attack foreigners wherever they are.