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Murder of French hostage Hervé Gourdel

Murder of French hostage Hervé Gourdel

Published on September 24, 2014
Statement by President François Hollande
New York, September 24, 2014

Our compatriot Hervé Gourdel has been cruelly and cravenly murdered by a terrorist group. He is in my thoughts. He left for Algeria to follow his passion, mountaineering, and he was the victim of a heinous crime whose perpetrators must be punished.

My thoughts are with his family, his companion and his parents, to whom I spoke and who are overcome by sorrow. My thoughts are with his many loved ones who don’t understand and don’t accept this terrible injustice.

Why him? Why there?

My thoughts are with all our fellow citizens who are filled with horror, because the aim of terrorists is precisely to horrify and frighten.

So right now I want to remind you of a few simple, powerful things. Hervé Gourdel died because he was French; because his country, France, fights terrorism. Hervé Gourdel died because he represents a people—our people—that loves freedom and defends human dignity against barbarity.

My determination is absolute, and this act of aggression only strengthens it. We will continue to fight terrorism wherever it may be, and in particular the group we call Daesh, which sows death in Iraq, and Syria, which pursues civilian populations, persecutes religious minorities, rapes and decapitates. Yes, it is this group that France is mobilized against, and which the Iraqi authorities called on us to oppose.

Thus the military air operations - there are no troops on the ground - the military operations will continue for as long as necessary.

I also want all measures to be taken to ensure the security of our compatriots both in France and worldwide.

I renew my calls for vigilance, my orders to ensure that nobody is exposed to unnecessary risk at this time.

Tomorrow I will convene a defense council both to establish the goals we have set for our military operations and to further strengthen the protection of our fellow citizens.

Unity is the best response to this ordeal, and that is why I am glad, at this time, that Parliament has demonstrated its sense of unity and the importance of the national interest.

Indeed, I am calling for all of us, for our entire community to stand united beyond our differences, beyond our sensibilities and our convictions, because the most vital matters are at stake. France will not give in to terrorism, France will never give in to terrorism, because it is its duty and, even more important, because its honor depends on it.

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