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France's Hollande denounces 'cowardly' hostage murder

25 september 2014, 13:24

 French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday denounced the "cowardly" murder of a French hostage in Algeria and vowed not to give in to the Islamic State group, AFP reports.

"Our compatriot Herve Gourdel was murdered cowardly, cruelly and shamefully," Hollande told reporters in New York where he was attending the UN General Assembly.

Hollande said he would convene a special security meeting at the Elysee palace on Thursday to discuss the latest developments and vowed France would stay the course in fighting Islamists in Iraq.

"France is going through an ordeal through the murder of one of its citizens, but France will never give in to blackmail," Hollande said shortly afterward before the UN General Assembly.

"The fight against terrorism must continue and be stepped up," he said.

Jund al-Khilifa, or "Soldiers of the Caliphate," claimed to have beheaded the Frenchman abducted in Algeria in a video posted online Wednesday.

Gourdel, 55, was kidnapped on Sunday while hiking in a national park that was once a magnet for tourists but later became a sanctuary for Islamists.

The apparent beheading followed France's rejection of the group's 24-hour ultimatum to halt air raids in Iraq -- part of a US-led campaign against IS fighters.

"The perpetrators of this odious crime must be punished," Hollande said.

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