Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Global Impact: IS Beheads French Kidnap Victim in Algeria for Failure to Stop Airstrikes

According to The Associated Press, Algerian extremists allied with the Islamic State (IS) have beheaded a French hostage after France ignored their demand to stop airstrikes in Iraq, according to a video released by a US terrorism watchdog.
A group calling itself Jund al-Khilafah said after abducting Herve Gourdel, 55, on Sunday (September 21) that he would be killed within 24 hours unless France ended its airstrikes against IS fighters in Iraq.
The French government has insisted it will not back down. Paris refused to comment on the beheading video.
COMMENT:  Why was a French citizen wandering around the bush in Algeria when the country has had a history of Islamic extremism and various franchisees of al-Qaeda openly operate?

Terrorist threats posed by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) continue to dominate security concerns and media reporting. AQIM is the most active terrorist group in Algeria. This group, which had been known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat before affiliating with al-Qaeda in 2006. The threat posed by AQIM continues to menace the Algerian government and expatriate business operating throughout Algeria. Although AQIM’s primary targets have been the Algerian government and its institutions, it has also targeted foreign interests, particularly in the Sahel states of Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. AQIM operatives in Algeria have stated their intention to overthrow the government and attack Algerian, French, Spanish, and US targets.  AQIM continues to utilize IEDs, bombings, false roadblocks, kidnappings, and ambushes in areas east and south of Algiers. AQIM operations in the trans-Sahara are well documented in both the local and international media.  Algerian media documented at least 196 terrorist acts in 2013. As of mid-December, 220 terrorists were killed in 2013, according to the President of the Judicial Unit for the application of the Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation, a consultative body to the Algerian Office of the Presidency. 

On January 16, 2013, “Those Who Sign in Blood,” an AQIM-linked organization led by a former AQIM leader, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, attacked the Tiguentourine gas facility (a joint venture among Algerian, British, and Norwegian companies) near In Amenas, in southeastern Algeria. Over 800 people were taken hostage for several days, and the attack resulted in the deaths of 39 foreign hostages, including three US citizens. The group’s leader and an Algerian national, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, remains a threat and is at-large.

Terrorism watchdog SITE Intelligence Group distributed a video by Jund al-Khilafah on Wednesday announcing Gourdel's death.

The video resembled those showing the beheadings of two American journalists and a British aid worker in recent weeks, but instead of displaying President Barack Obama, it depicted French President François Hollande.

France commenced its airstrikes in Iraq on Friday, the first country to join the US military coalition against IS. 

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