A French citizen was kidnapped in Algeria by an Islamic State offshoot group on Monday, officials in Paris have confirmed.
The Caliphate Soldiers, a group reportedly linked to the ISIS militants, soon released a threatening video online, claiming responsibility for the kidnapping. The video, which the French foreign ministry later confirmed as authentic, showed a man who identified himself as Herve Gourdel, a 55-year-old from Nice in southern France and the militants have warned that they would kill him if France did not halt its intervention in Iraq.
"We will do everything we can to liberate hostages," French foreign minister Laurent Fabius told reporters in New York. He is currently attending a UN General Assembly meeting.
"But a terrorist group cannot change France's position."
The incident took place just hours after Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani urged the group's followers to attack citizens of the US, France and other countries who are trying to destroy the radical group.
President Francois Hollande said in a statement that he had spoken to Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and the two countries are doing everything they can to local the captive and ultimately release him.
'Get me out of this'
In the video released by the group, Gourdel mentioned his name, age and date of birth. He arrived in Algeria on 20 September and was taken hostage the next day. The recording was published by a group called Jund al-Khilifa (Caliphate Soldiers), which has pledged its allegiance to the self-proclaimed 'Islamic State'.
"I am in the hands of Jund al-Khilifa, and Algerian armed group. This armed group is asking me to ask you (President Francois Hollande), to not intervene in Iraq," Gourdel says. "They are holding me as a hostage and I ask you Mr. President to do everything to get me out of this bad situation and I thank you."
The French captive is pictured squatting on the ground with two hooded men clutching assault rifles, standing alongside.