Algiers, Sep 24 (IANS) The Algerian army has deployed more than 1,500 troops, including paratroopers, to search for a French man who was kidnapped Sunday, media reported.
Herve Gourdil was hiking in a popular tourist place in the country, when he was abducted by militants in the upper hills of the Tizi Ouzou region, 120 km east of capital Algiers, Xinhua reported citing TSA news website.
“Two army units of the operational sector of Bouira and three units belonging to the operational sector of Tizi Ouzou are deployed in the field,” a security source said.
The source said that investigators with the intelligence and security department have joined the search operation.
A militant group called the “Caliphate Soldiers” claimed responsibility for the abduction and posted a video on internet Monday showing the hostage. The group that kidnapped Gourdil is allegedly affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) Sunni militant group, which has seized large swathes of Iraq and Syria, causing thousands to flee the area.
The Caliphate Soldiers urged French President Francois Hollande to halt the military operation against IS camps in Iraq, threatening to execute Herve Gourdil if he does not comply.
On Monday, the French foreign ministry confirmed that its national was kidnapped in Algeria’s Tizi Ouzou region Sunday after he had gone on holiday there.
In the video, one of the kidnappers said the members of his group are followers of IS and they kidnapped the French citizen in response to the call of IS chief, Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, to target westerners, including French, in retaliation to the US-led military campaign against IS positions in Iraq.