EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS IMAGES THAT MAY BE DISTURBING BUT NO GRAPHIC CONTENT - DOES NOT SHOW BEHEADING
*****REUTERS CANNOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE CONTENT OF THIS VIDEO*******
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
Algerian militants have released a video that appears to show them beheading Frenchman Herve Gourdel, who was kidnapped on Sunday (September 21), in what the group said was a response to France's action against Islamic State militants in Iraq.
The video shows Gourdel, a 55-year-old tourist from Nice, kneeling with his arms tied behind his back before four masked militants who read out a statement in Arabic criticising France's military intervention.
They then pushed him on his side and held him down. The video does not show the beheading, but a militant holds the head up to the camera.
"Here is criminal France that is full of hatred for Muslims, coming to us with a new dress. The aggression on the Muslims in Mali was not enough for it, and before that in Algeria, where it destroyed and sowed corruption in the land, violated honor, fought whoever converted to Islam with its laws, prevented the hijab, spread vice and corruption, and killed the Muslims and displaced the weak," said one of the unnamed militants.
Reuters was not able to authenticate the footage and there was no immediate confirmation from the French or Algerian governments.
The militant goes on to add, "Let the French people know that their blood is cheap for their president, and it is the same as you made the blood of the Muslim women and children cheap in Iraq and Syria and other countries. Your blood has been cheapened as an exact recompense."
The kidnapping had come after Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani urged the group's followers to attack citizens of the United States, France and other countries that joined the coalition to destroy the radical group.
France launched its first air strikes targeting Islamic State targets in Iraq on Friday. It has said all must be done to rid the region of the group.