A new armed group in Algeria calling itself the "Caliphate Soldiers" - a re-splinter from Al-Qaeda splinter group ISIS - has, according to AP, beheaded a Frenchman abducted in Algeria in a video posted online on Wednesday, 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-Khilifa, which demanded France stop its air strikes against IS in Iraq.
The initial threat video sent 24 hours ago...
Masked men seen in the new video give the French government 24 hours to stop its offensive against ISIL, otherwise Gourdel “will be beheaded”.
The French foreign ministry has confirmed the video’s authenticity.
“We confirm the authenticity of the video showing images of French hostage Hervé Gourdel, kidnapped in Algeria in the region of Tizi Ouzou on Sunday (September 21). The threats made by this terrorist group show once again the extreme cruelty of Daech (Islamic State/ISIL) and those who say they are affiliated to it,” the ministry said in a statement.
And now, as SITE reports...
Jund al-Khilafah in Algeria Beheads French Hostage in Video http://t.co/pU8GpB6nIJ— SITE Intel Group (@siteintelgroup) September 24, 2014
A breakaway of key Algerian commanders from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, known as AQIM, would show deepening rivalry between al Qaeda's core command and the Islamic State over leadership of the transnational Islamist militancy.
The newly created "Caliphate Soldiers" or "Jound al Khilafa fi Ard al Jazayer" is the second group to break with AQIM, the first one being Mokhtar Belmokhtar's group "Those who sign in Blood" who observers say are likely based now in southern Libya.
"The new group will try hard to make some noise, but it will be very difficult to execute big terrorist actions as Algerian security forces have knocked out most of the armed groups in Algeria," local security analyst Anis Rahmani said.
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Who are Jund al-Khilafa? (via BBC)
- Previously part of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which grew out of Algerian Islamist groups involved in 1990s civil war
- Carried out numerous attacks in Kabylie region - in April, ambushed an army convoy, leaving 11 soldiers dead
- Many residents fled the region's forests and mountains in recent years due to insecurity
- Group said to be led by Abdelmalek Gouri, known as Khaled Abou Slimane, 37
- 14 September, pledged allegiance to Islamic State
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