Algerian army kills Islamic State splinter group leader behind beheading of French hiker

Algeria's Ministry of Defense says the man behind the kidnapping and beheading of a French hiker in September has been killed in a military operation.

The statement says Abdelmalek Gouri was killed together with two associates late Monday near the city of Boumerdes, east of the capital.

Two other militants were killed Tuesday morning nearby, added the statement.

A group calling itself Jund al-Khilafah and pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group in Syria kidnapped French hiker Herve Gourdel in the Djurdjura mountains.

Gourdel was beheaded on video a few days later when demands for France to end airstrikes were not met.

The Algerian army carried out a massive operation to find the group behind the kidnapping and said two other members have been killed in past months.