(USA Today) – Algerian soldiers killed the leader of an Islamic State splinter group blamed for the beheading of a French hiker, Algeria’s Ministry of Defense said Tuesday.
Abdelmalek Gouri and two associates were killed late Monday in an ambush in the town of Isser, near the city of Boumerdes, 25 miles east of Algiers, the ministry said in a statement.
Hervé Gourdel, 55, from Nice, southern France, was kidnapped in September in the Djurdjura mountains by a group calling itself Jund al-Khilafah (Soldiers of the Caliphate). It later issued a video condemning French participation in U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq. Gourdel was beheaded on video a few days later.
Gouri, a former al-Qaeda commander in Algeria, formed Jund al-Khilafah and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in September. He was also known as Khalid Abu Suleiman, Reuters reported.