Group aligned with ISIS beheads French hostage

French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday confirmed the killing of a French citizen by a group aligned with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The group, called Jund al-Khilafah, abducted French tourist Herve Gourdel, 55, in the mountains of northern Algeria on Sunday. 


The group said it would kill Gourdel in 24 hours if France did not stop its airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq, the Associated Press reported. It added that a video released by the group showing Gourdel's beheading was distributed by the SITE Intelligence Group, a terrorism watchdog.

The video indicates that the ISIS practice of capturing and killing hostages on tape is spreading beyond the area that the militants control in Iraq and Syria.

The AP reported that the video is similar to previous videos from ISIS, except that it shows French President François Hollande instead of President Obama. 

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Tuesday that there would be "no discussion, no negotiation" with the kidnappers, according to the BBC.

"If you give in, if you go back one inch ... you give [terrorism] this victory," he said.

The United States also has a policy of not negotiating with ISIS over hostages. Two American journalists, Steven Sotloff and James Foley, have been killed in videos released by the group, along with British aid worker David Haines.

Some reports, though, have suggested that other French hostages have been released after ransom money was paid to militants.

France began bombing ISIS in Iraq on Friday, joining the United States-led coalition against the group. On Monday, the U.S. and Arab allies expanded the airstrikes against ISIS into Syria.

"We've seen the reports. Clearly, if true this would be another horrific action that is a affront to all of humanity. The United States would obviously stand in full solidarity with our French allies," a senior administration official on Wednesday told a reporter traveling with President Obama in New York.

"But really our thoughts and prayers would be with the family. I’d note that this was a group that claims affinity for ISIL not necessary a group that is under direct control or direction from ISIL," the official added, using another acronym for ISIS.

--This report was updated at 1:23 p.m.