Jund al-Khilafah in Algeria beheaded its French hostage, Hervé Gourdel, after having given a 24-hour deadline for French President Francois Hollande to stop airstrikes on the Islamic State (IS).
The 4 minute, 46 second video entitled, "A Message with Blood to the French Government," was posted on Twitter on September 24, 2014. The production was made to resemble IS videos of beheadings, but showed a clip of Hollande in place of Obama, and showed a similar title screen. Footage shows fighters standing behind Gourdel as one reads a speech, and then they hold him down while one takes a knife. The actual beheading is not shown, but a subsequent scene shows his severed head sitting on his lap, and then the fighters holding it up.
Jund al-Khilfaf in Algeria had previously pledged allegiance to the IS, and stated in a video released on September 22 that the kidnapping was their fulfilling the order of IS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-'Adnani to attack citizens of countries participating in the U.S.-led coalition against the IS.
The style of the beheading clearly demonstates that the group was inspired by IS videos and attempted to mirror them: opening with clips from Western leaders, the prisoner speaking, the warning, and the execution.
"As the Islamic State has instructed its supporters all over the world to execute attacks," says SITE Director Rita Katz, "the beheading of this French hostage may not be the last demonstration of this nature."
A shortened version of the video is available here: