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Another beheading: French hostage Herve Gourdel abducted & beheaded by Islamic extremists

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(CNN) -- French hostage Herve Gourdel was abducted and beheaded, a killing shown on video, French President Francois Hollande told the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

"You will understand that today I am speaking before you with a particularly high level of emotion because one of my compatriots has just been subject of a cowardly assassination," Hollande said. "He was a man who was full enthusiasm. He loved the mountains. He thought he would be able to pursue his passion moving into the Ouzou area in Algeria."

Hollande said the attack won't affect France's role in the battle against terrorism.

"France will never give in to blackmail, to pressure, to barbaric acts. Quite to the contrary, France knows what is expected," Hollande said.

Gourdel was kidnapped over the weekend in Algeria's Tizi Ouzou region east of Algiers, the French Foreign Ministry said. The video was posted online Wednesday. It shows armed men who claim to belong to Islamist militant group Jund al-Khilafa -- or Soldiers of the Caliphate -- in Algeria. They pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Titled "A message of blood for the French government," the video surfaced as French Prime Minister Manuel Valls addressed the French National Assembly, the country's lower house of parliament, about the fight against ISIS.

France is part of a broad coalition that is working with the United States to combat the brutal extremist group.

The video appears to show the latest beheading of a Westerner by an Islamist extremist group. Since mid-August, ISIS has beheaded American journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley and British aid worker David Haines.

The new video came on the same day U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the United Nations, calling for all countries to unite against terrorism and brutality wrought by ISIS. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria goes against everything Islam stands for, he said. Islam, Obama said, is about peace.

Obama publicly extended the condolences of the United States to the people of France for the death of Gourdel.


The news of the beheading of a French tourist worked its way through Milwaukee's French community on Wednesday, September 24th. French nationals gathered at the Alliance Francais as they often do to socialize and speak French. The news of the beheading of Gourdel came as a shock to many of them.

"As a French person, I am very shocked at what happened," a French national named Valerie told FOX6 News.

Valerie moved from Paris to Milwaukee about a year ago to get married. She says she was often a tourist when she lived in France -- traveling to countries now considered dangerous.

"There are definitely countries I would not go anymore where I used to go. For example, Morocco where I used to go a lot and was a very close country to France," Valerie said.

Terrorism, she says, is nothing new to the French. A friend of hers survived a bombing in the 80s. But she says news of the beheading and targeting of the French is concerning.

"Most in France are more exposed to terrorism than the United States for a way longer time than the 11th of September. We have been through a lot of periods of terrorism," Valerie said.

The violence now captured on video puts a new twist on the tragedy of terrorism, even if terrorism isn't new for the French.

"You cannot pretend it is existing. It's true and it's so violent," Valerie said.