Body of Frenchman slain by jihadists flown home from Algeria
/ Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport (France) – 26 January 2015 15:03 – AFP – LEAD
The body of a French tourist who was kidnapped and beheaded by jihadists in Algeria last September was flown to Paris after a brief ceremony in Algiers on Monday.
Herve Gourdel’s headless corpse was found in a booby-trapped grave in the mountainous Kabylie region, east of the capital, on January 15 after a months-long search involving some 3,000 Algerian troops. His head was found in a separate grave.
At the ceremony in Algeria, the 55-year-old mountain guide’s backpack was laid on his coffin in tribute to the passion for hiking that had brought him to the country.
His body was then flown to Paris Charles De Gaulle airport, where his family were due to attend a ceremony in his honour along with Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
Gourdel was abducted in the heart of the Djurdjura National Park, whose dense forests, deep gorges and picturesque lakes were once a major attraction for tourists but which has since become a sanctuary for militants.
French ambassador Bernard Emie said it was “Kabylie’s magnificent scenery” that had brought Gourdel to the North African nation.
He paid tribute the Algerian army for recovering the body.
Gourdel was kidnapped by jihadists of the Jund al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate) group who demanded that France halt its air strikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq.
He was beheaded days later in a video posted online after France rejected the demand.