The Islamic State has left its gruesome calling card again as a warning to another coalition partner executing strikes on ISIS positions in Iraq: France. French President Francois Hollande confirmed that a French hiker who was abducted by forces linked to ISIS in North Africa was recently beheaded on camera.
The video entitled “A message of blood for the French government” features Herve Gourdel, 55, bound and surrounded by masked Islamist militants. He delivers a message in French before he is beheaded, an act which was not shown in the video in a manner consistent with recent ISIS beheading videos.
Hollande promised that this brutal act would not dissuade France from carrying out further strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq.
“Clearly, if true this would be another horrific action that is an affront to all of humanity,” a senior official with the Obama administration said. “The United States would obviously stand in full solidarity with our French allies.”
“I’d note that this was a group that claims affinity for ISIL not necessary a group that is under direct control or direction from ISIL,” the administration official added.
That’s important to note, because this disturbing incident took place in Algeria, hundreds of miles from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. “The killing of Mr. Gourdel signals that the Islamic State’s practice of beheading Western captives for propaganda purposes has spread beyond the area it controls in Syria,” The New York Times reported. “Numerous smaller factions in the Middle East and elsewhere have pledged allegiance to the group.”
It is part of a trend which indicates that disparate Islamist militias are uniting behind ISIS. NBC’s Richard Engel reported, ominously, that the al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front in Syria has allegedly pledged to stop working against ISIS and start working with them. And this phenomenon extends well beyond the Middle East and North Africa.
“Separately, a militant group in the Philippines, Abu Sayyaf, has announced that it is holding two German citizens and has threatened to kill them if German does not back out of the intervention in Syria,” The Times report added.
Reportedly, among Osama bin Laden’s regrets just before his death at the hands of U.S. Navy SEALs was his group’s brutality toward fellow Muslims which resulted in the alienation of most of the Islamic world. That ISIS’s own brutality toward Muslims, which is of a magnitude greater than that of bin Laden’s al-Qaeda, is not only apparently not alienating other Islamic radical groups but uniting them behind the Islamic State. That is truly troubling.