IS-linked group threatens hostage

ALGIERS – An Algerian group linked to Islamic State jihadists has claimed the kidnapping of a French national and threatened to kill the hostage within 24 hours unless Paris halts air strikes on the IS in Iraq.

Jund al-Khilifa (Soldiers of the Caliphate) posted a video showing the white-haired and bespectacled hostage, Herve Pierre Gourdel, squatting on the ground flanked by two hooded men clutching Kalashnikov assault rifles.

The footage was confirmed as authentic by the French government, and came after IS issued a statement urging Muslims to kill Westerners whose nations have joined a campaign to battle the jihadist group.

The US has built a broad coalition of more than 50 nations to fight the IS organisation, after the jihadists seized large parts of Syria and Iraq and committed widespread atrocities including beheadings and crucifixions.

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