SHAFAQNA – Two Algerians who accompanied Frenchman Herve Gourdel just before militants kidnapped and beheaded him are under house arrest while a judge investigates whether they were involved in the abduction, two security sources said on Wednesday. The two men were among five Algerians who went with Gourdel on a mountain hike last month before he was taken by militants who killed him to punish France for its military intervention against Islamic State fighters in Iraq.
Two Algerian sources said the men had been put under judicial control, a form of house arrest which means they must report to authorities during a judge’s investigation.
Algerian officials were not immediately available to confirm the reports. Algeria’s justice minister said on Tuesday several members of the militant group involved in the crime had been identified, without giving details.
Algeria’s Caliphate Soldiers group, which pledges loyalty to the Islamic State militants targeted by U.S. and coalition air strikes in Iraq and Syria, released a video statement a week ago saying it beheaded Gourdel.
(Reporting by Lamine Chikhi; writing by Patrick Markey)