As French President Francois Hollande prepared to speak at the United Nations General Assembly today, Algerian terrorists who back ISIS released a video showing the beheading of a French mountain climber.
Hervé Gourdel was kidnapped on Sunday evening in the mountainous region of Djurdjura, part of the Atlas range not far from Algiers.
Gourdel, 55, of Nice was an active mountaineer throughout his life. He was seized by Jund al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate), which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
The group released a Tuesday video showing Gourdel flanked by armed gunmen vowing to behead him in 24 hours if France didn’t stop targeting ISIS.
Today’s video showing Gourdel’s death was titled “A Message of Blood for the French Government.”
“He left for Algeria to follow his passion, mountaineering, and he was the victim of a heinous crime whose perpetrators must be punished,” Hollande said in a statement. “My thoughts are with his family, his companion and his parents, to whom I spoke and who are overcome by sorrow. My thoughts are with his many loved ones who don’t understand and don’t accept this terrible injustice. Why him? Why there?”
“…Hervé Gourdel died because he was French; because his country, France, fights terrorism. Hervé Gourdel died because he represents a people—our people—that loves freedom and defends human dignity against barbarity.”
Gourdel’s abduction also came hours after an ISIS video urged supporters around the world to target Westerners — “especially the spiteful and filthy French.”
The kidnapping came just days after France officially began referring to ISIS as Daesh, a loose Arabic acronym with derogatory dual meanings.
Both in his statement and in his Wednesday afternoon address at the UN Security Council, Hollande continued calling them Daesh.
“My determination is absolute, and this act of aggression only strengthens it. We will continue to fight terrorism wherever it may be, and in particular the group we call Daesh, which sows death in Iraq, and Syria, which pursues civilian populations, persecutes religious minorities, rapes and decapitates. Yes, it is this group that France is mobilized against, and which the Iraqi authorities called on us to oppose,” he said.
Hollande is flying back to France to convene a defense council meeting tomorrow at Elysee palace to “establish the goals we have set for our military operations and to further strengthen the protection of our fellow citizens.”
“I am calling for all of us, for our entire community to stand united beyond our differences, beyond our sensibilities and our convictions, because the most vital matters are at stake,” he said. “France will not give in to terrorism, France will never give in to terrorism, because it is its duty and, even more important, because its honor depends on it.”