Body of slain French hostage to be flown home from Algeria

25th January 2015, Comments 0 comments

The body of a French tourist who was kidnapped and beheaded by jihadists in Algeria last September is to be flown home on Monday, a source close to the case told AFP.

DNA tests have confirmed that the headless corpse found in a booby-trapped grave in the mountainous Kabylie region, east of Algiers, on January 15 was that of Herve Gourdel, the source said on Sunday.

Gourdel's sister had flown to Algiers with two French pathologists to help with the formal identification of the body and the release of the death certificate.

The 55-year-old mountain guide was kidnapped by jihadists of the Jund al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate) group demanding that France halt its air strikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq.

He had been hiking in a national park that was once a draw for tourists but has become a sanctuary for militants.

Gourdel was beheaded days later in a video posted online after France rejected the jihadists' demand.

The Algerian army mobilised some 3,000 troops in the search for the Frenchman's body and eventually found it after a tip-off from a suspected militant in custody, officials have said.

It was found in a wooded area near the village of Takhlidjt, some 20 kilometres (13 miles) from where he had been abducted.

Troops were only able to recover the body after sappers had first defused booby traps planted by the militants.


© 2015 AFP

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