The man who beheaded the wilderness guide Herve Gourdel was the mufti of Jund Al-Khalifah. That is, he was considered well-versed in Shariah.
It’s the most important item in the report on terrorists recently killed by the Algerian army.
Algerian soldiers killed five Islamist gunmen Saturday not far from where the suspected hideout of extremists who beheaded a French hostage was destroyed two days earlier, the defence ministry said.
“A detachment of soldiers on Saturday eliminated five terrorists in the Mount Mokrani area,” a statement said.
Two Kalashnikov assault rifles, a semi-automatic pistol and ammunition were recovered, the ministry said.
On Thursday, the army announced it had destroyed a camp in the Djurdjura mountains, 150 kilometres southeast of the capital, believed to have been used by militants who beheaded 55-year-old French hiker Herve Gourdel last month.
Gourdel was kidnapped on September 21 by Jund al-Khilifa, or “Soldiers of the Caliphate,” which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militant group.
El-Watan daily on Saturday named the man suspected of murdering Gourdel as Jund al-Khilifa mufti, or religious leader, Bachir Kherza but gave no source.
Kherza, in his fifties and from Algiers, is a veteran of Islamist armed groups of the 1990s civil war in which 200,000 people died.
The army says close to 80 Islamist militants have been killed this year in Algeria.