Herve Gourdel
Still picture of video showing killing of French hostage Herve Gourdel by Algeria's Isis-linked group Jund al-Khilafah (Soldiers of the Caliphate)SITE monitoring group

Algeria has claimed to have identified jihadist suspects in the beheading of French hostage Hervé Gourdel, according to the north African country's justice minister.

Tayeb Louh said the preliminary investigation identified certain members of Jund al-Khilafah (Soldiers of the Caliphate), the Isis-linked group that killed the 55-year-old mountaineer from Nice.

Gourdel was seized by the Islamists in Algeria's north-east area of Kabylie. In the video of the killing that emerged online, armed militants are seen reading a statement in Arabic that states they will be "closer to God by killing this filthy Frenchman in defence of God's religion". Gourdel is pictured kneeling in front of them.

The Islamist fighters also pledge allegiance to Isis (also known as Islamic State) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi saying: "Here are your soldiers fighting those you fight and making peace with those you make peace with."

Before the end of the video, Gourdel was pushed over and held down. In the next frame, he appeared to have been beheaded.

The hiker arrived in Algeria on Saturday 20 September and was abducted the following day while trekking in the heart of the Djurdjura National Park.