French Citizen Abducted by IS Splinter Group
The unnamed man was captured while on holiday in Algeria Twitter

An Algerian jihadist group has released a video of the beheading of French tourist Herve Gourdel following his capture in the north-eastern region of Kabylie in a tape entitled Message Of Blood For The French Government.

The group, known as Jund al-Khalifa or the "Caliphate Soldiers in Algeria", set a 24-hour deadline for France to halt its air strikes on Isis (now known as the Islamic State) positions but French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls rejected its ultimatum.

But who are the Caliphate Soldiers in Algeria and where has this group emerged from?

It is clear this new terror cell is affiliated with IS following a militant's declaration of the group's allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's terror organisation in Iraq and Syria, where it has declared a caliphate straddling the Iraqi-Syrian border.

The kidnap of Gourdel, a 55-year-old mountain guide from Nice, while he was hiking represented the first abduction of a foreign national by Algerian militants since Islamists ended their decade-long war with the country in the 1990s.

It came after an IS spokesperson issued a call to arms to supporters around the world to attack Americans, Canadians and Europeans, especially the "filthy French".

"If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever [...] including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be," said Abu Muhammad al-Adnani ash-Shami in a speech released on social media.

Caliphate Soldiers
The title of the second video from the "Caliphate Soldiers in Algeria", directed at the French government SITE Intelligence

In response, the Caliphate Soldiers said it kidnapped the Frenchman on the "order" of their "caliph" al-Baghdadi.

"We, the Caliphate Soldiers in Algeria, in compliance with the order of our leader Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ... give Hollande, president of the criminal French state, 24 hours to cease its hostility against the Islamic State, otherwise the fate of his citizen will be slaughter," a militant said.

"To save his life, you must officially announce the end of your hostility against the Islamic State."

The warning video, four-minutes in length and called A Message From The Caliphate Soldiers In Algeria To The Dog Hollande, announced the so-called Caliphate Soldiers had split from al-Qaida in the North African country to join IS.

Al-Qaida Defectors

One of al-Qaida's main branches, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), has a large presence in North Africa, especially Algeria and Mali.

The group is believed to be formed of a group of key Algerian commanders who have defected from AQIM, in a sign of the deepening rivalry between the two jihadist groups.

The leader of this new group is AQIM's former central region commander, Khaled Abu Suleimane (real name Gouri Abdelmalek), as announced in a communique posted on various jihadist websites.

"You have in the Islamic Maghreb men if you order them they will obey you," Suleimane said in a message directed to caliph al-Baghdadi. "The Maghreb has deviated from the true path."

A key difference between al-Qaida and IS is their treatment of hostages. For example, the former requested that the latter released British hostage Alan Henning.

The group usually use kidnap for ransom as opposed to beheading those who are in the group's possession, like IS has done in the case of two American journalists, Steven Sotloff and James Foley, and British aid worker David Haines.

It is these tactics used by the Caliphate Soldiers in the case of Gourdel that demonstrates this new group's divergence with al-Qaida in Algeria and the spreading influence of IS across the Arab world.