Algerian army ‘kills jihadist behind Herve Gourdel beheading’
Algeria’s defence ministry says troops have killed the leader of a jihadist militant group which kidnapped and beheaded French tourist Herve Gourdel.
Abdelmalek Gouri and two associates were shot dead late on Monday in the town of Isser, a statement said.
His group, Jund al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate), pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS) in mid-September.
Days later, it seized Mr Gourdel in the Djurdjura mountains and killed him in response to French air strikes on IS.
The Algerian army subsequently launched a major operation to track down members of Jund al-Khilafa, which has seen several of them killed.
The group kidnapped Mr Gourdel in Djurdjura National Park on 21 September. Three days later it published a video that appeared to show him being beheaded after its demand that France end its air strikes on IS positions in Iraq was not met.
Gouri, also known as Khaled Abou Slimane, was once considered the “right-hand man” of AQIM leader Abdelmalek Droukdel and was part of the cell behind suicide attacks on the government’s headquarters and the UN compound in Algiers in 2007, Ennahar said.
He was also behind an attack in Iboudrarene in April that left 11 soldiers dead, the newspaper added.