Slain French hostage was ‘full of enthusiasm’

Herve Gourdel, a 55-year-old mountain guide, was abducted on Sunday as he was hiking the remote Djura Djura mountains of northern Algeria. He was killed by extremists in a video released Wednesday that YouTube quickly pulled off the Internet.

A group calling itself Jund al-Khilafah, or Soldiers of the Caliphate, had said they would kill Gourdel unless France ended its airstrikes against the Islamic State militants in Iraq.

French President Francois Hollande said at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday that the killing only strengthened his country’s resolve to fight the terrorists.

“My determination is total and this attack only reinforces it,” he said. “We will continue to fight terrorism everywhere.”

Hollande described Gourdel as being “full of enthusiasm.” Gourdel, he said, “is dead because he is the representative of a people — ours — that defends human dignity against barbarity.”