вторник, 23 сентября 2014 г.

Group Backing Islamic State Vows to Kill French Citizen

By Rukmini Callimachi

A jihadist group in North Africa aligned with the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of a Frenchman in a mountainous region of Algeria, hours after the Islamic State called for attacks on Westerners. In the video released Monday, the little-known group Jund al-Khilafah said France had 24 hours to halt attacks on the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, or see its citizen executed.

Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, said Tuesday that his government would not stop its campaign despite the threat.

He told Europe 1 radio that French authorities are “doing everything” to free the hostage, but will not negotiate with his captors. “If we cede, if we retreat one inch, that would hand victory” to the militants, Mr. Valls said.

The kidnapping was the first of a Westerner by an Islamic State-aligned group outside Syria. If copied, the tactic of kidnapping Westerners to pressure their governments could expand the conflict beyond the group’s current footprint, given that the Islamic State has secured pledges of allegiance from fighters in other regions of Africa and the Middle East, and elsewhere in Asia.



The Islamic State has kidnapped at least 23 Westerners so far, among them the American freelance journalists James Foley, 40, and Steven J. Sotloff, 31, who were beheaded, with their executions recorded on video.

The Frenchman identified himself as Hervé Gourdel, 55, according to the video provided by the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks jihadist groups. The French government declined to name the man, saying only that a French national was abducted.

“A French citizen was taken this Sunday in Algeria in the region of Tizi Ouzou,” Romain Nadal, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said by telephone, naming a region of northern Algeria that is popular with mountaineers. “All of the services of the state have been mobilized to try to find him.”

In the video, the kidnappers quoted Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, spokesman for the Islamic State, who said in a speech uploaded to the Internet last weekend that the group’s followers should exact revenge against the citizens of countries who have joined the United States in its fight against the group. The timing of the kidnapping — which occurred sometime on Sunday — suggested that the French victim was taken just hours after Mr. Adnani’s speech began circulating.

“If you can, kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian,” Mr. Adnani said in the speech, a portion of which was quoted in the kidnapping video. “Then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way, however it may be. Do not ask for anyone’s advice.”

Mr. Gourdel is seen sitting on a blanket next to his hooded captors, his knees drawn to his chest and a camera slung around his neck. He reads from a script, addressing President François Hollande of France, and states his name, place and date of birth, and the names of his mother and father.

He says he is a mountaineering guide who arrived in Algeria on Saturday and was kidnapped a day later. He called on Mr. Hollande to halt France’s intervention in Iraq.


His captors threatened to kill him within a day if their demands were not met. “We in Jund al-Khilafah in Algeria, in compliance with the command of our emir, the caliph of the Muslims, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” say the masked gunmen sitting next to Mr. Gourdel, “we give a time frame to Hollande, the president of the criminal country of France, to stop its assault on the Islamic State during the next 24 hours from the issuance of this statement; otherwise, the fate of its citizens will be” slaughter, according to a transcript by SITE.


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