Reports confirmed the death of 55-year-old Herve Gourdel at the hands of an Algerian jihadist group linked to Islamic State (IS) militants.
Mr. Gourdel was a French tourist guide who was seized on Sunday in the unsettled north-east Kabylie area. He was killed after deadline for France to halt air strikes on IS in Iraq ran out. Jund al-Khilafa posted a video of Mr Gourdel being killed which was entitled “Message of blood for the French government”.
Police have been guarding Mr Gourdel’s home in the French city of Nice. He worked as a mountain guide in the Mercantour national park north of the city.
He had also been organizing treks through the Atlas Mountains of Morocco for some 20 years, AFP news agency reports.
In the video posted by his killers, he is shown on his knees with his hands behind his back in front of four masked, armed militants. Like previous deaths of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and British aid worker David Haines. Their deaths were all filmed and posted online.
Harve is allowed briefly to express his love for his family before one of the militants reads out a speech in which he denounces the actions of the “French criminal crusaders” against Muslims in Algeria, Mali and Iraq.
People who knew him, said about Mr. Gourdel
“He is mad about mountains and never travels without his camera,”
“He is a very nice man, who loves nature and is passionate about his work,”
Born in Nice in 1959 he trained mountain guides in Morocco, Nepal and Jordan and other places – depending where his clients wanted him to go. He had also visited Algeria several times, according to his friends. Close sources to him say he was passionate about two things in life: travel and photography. On his FB can be found many photos of his several excursions.
According to his Facebook page, he attended ufr staps nice (university in Niece); ENSA in Agadir, Morocco and Lycée du Parc Impérial also in Niece. His favorite quote:
Le fond du coeur est plus loin que le bout du monde ! Translation: The bottom of the heart is beyond the end of the world!
His last post was on September 18th. He is listed as being in a relationship and family members include father Jean Gourdel and one sister Mireille Gourdel. He appears listed as a mountain guide at Getaway Guides Mercantour and a former freelancer guide.
Mr Gourdel was married (Françoise) and had two grown-up children including Erwann Gourdel, French media say. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of his loved ones.
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