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Outrage and grief at beheading of French mountain guide

Outrage and grief at beheading of French mountain guide
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The newspaper headlines in France on Thursday showed the horror felt after the beheading of a French mountain guide at the hands of Algerian jihadists.

They read “Barbarity”, “Crime” and “Beheaded for being French.”

Fifty five-year-old Hervé Gourdel was on a hiking holiday in Algeria when he was abducted on Saturday. His captors, an Algerian jihadist group linked to ISIL, posted a video of his murder called “Message of Blood for the French government.”

President François Hollande has called a crisis meeting of his defence council later on Thursday.

In New York, Hollande told the UN France would “never give in to blackmail” and has vowed to continue airstrikes in Iraq.

“My determination is total and this aggression strengthened it. We will continue to fight against terrorism everywhere,” he said

In the French Alpine village where Gourdel worked as a mountain guide, the flag was at half-mast.

One passer-by in Paris spoke for many, saying:“I think it’s cowardly. It’s cowardly, it’s shameful, it’s not right that this sort of thing exists and that we allow it.”

France’s interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said:“France is not scared because it must not be afraid. Fear is a feeling that terrorists want to instil and if fear takes hold it will be a victory of terrorists.”

Gourdel had previously trained mountain guides in Morocco for many years and was described as someone who knew the Maghreb well and had strong links with it.

He leaves behind a wife and two children.