French PM: no negotiations with Algerian kidnappers

French PM: no negotiations with Algerian kidnappers
# 23 September 2014 19:55 (UTC +04:00)
Manuel Valls told Europe 1 radio that France would proceed with its airstrikes on ISIL militants inIraq and would not negotiate with the Algerian kidnappers who threaten to kill 55-year-old French hostage Herve Gourdel.
“That’s all the perfidy of terrorism, to resort to blackmail, death and threats,” Valls told Europe 1 radio. “If we give an inch, we hand them a victory.”
A group in Algeria, claiming to be affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), threatened to execute Gourdel within 24 hours if French President Francois Hollande did not put an end to its military operations in Iraq against ISIL.
The "Jund al-Khilafah" group released a video on Monday showing a French national who was kidnapped in the northeast region of Kabylie, in Algeria.
The French Foreign Ministry confirmed the authenticity of the video on Monday evening.
The French hostage appears in the video flanked by two hooded men as he appeals to French President Francois Hollande to intervene to release him.
In the video, Gourdel says he was taken by the "Caliphate soldiers of Algeria."
"Since yesterday [Sunday] I am in the hands of an Algerian armed group. This armed group asks me to make the request to you not to intervene in Iraq. They are holding me as a hostage. I urge you to do whatever is in your power to get me out of this mess. Thank you," says Gourdel, addressing French President Hollande.
Gourdel goes on to say he is a mountain guide from the French southern city of Nice and that he arrived in Algeria on September 20, 2014.
On Monday, the French Foreign Ministry confirmed that a French citizen had been kidnapped during the weekend, by a militant group near Tizi Ouzou, in northeastern Algeria.
The mountainous Tizi Ouzou region is a known hideout for North Africa's al Qaeda branch. Last week, the Jund al-Khilafah group broke away from the al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and pledged allegiance to the ISIL.
The French Presidency issued a statement on Monday night saying that President Hollande had spoken with Algerian Prime Minister, Abdelmalek Sellal.
The Elysee assured a "total cooperation between Paris and Algiers on this issue in order to release the French hostage," reads the statement.
France's foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, said he had also consulted with his Algerian counterpart.
"I can't hide it that the situation is "extremely critical"," he told France Info radio on Monday.
Fabius also tweeted that he asked "around 30 French embassies to invite French nationals to increase their vigilance against terrorist risks and to report to the nearest consulate."
Earlier on Monday, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has responded to ISIL threats against the citizens of countries that have joined the coalition against the militant group.
"France has no fear. Their threat will not bring down our determination to end their violence," Cazeneuve said in a press conference Monday.
On Sunday, ISIL spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani issued an online audio message, reported by French media, calling on the group’s supporters to kill the nationals of Western countries taking part in the U.S.-led coalition against the group in Iraq.
He said: "If you can kill a disbelieving American or European, especially the nasty and filthy French, or an Australian, or a Canadian... including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah and kill him."
The recording was released in Arabic with transcripts in English, French and Hebrew.
The message followed France’s first airstrikes against ISIL militants in northern Iraq on Friday.
ISIL has captured large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria, declaring a cross-border Islamic "caliphate."
On Friday, Cazeneuve sent a memo to police stations instructing them "to raise the level of vigilance of the internal security forces on sensitive buildings" including "religious, diplomatic and consular” sites, French daily Le Figaro reported.
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