France's defense minister says Algerian forces are hunting for the Muslim extremists who beheaded a French mountaineer over France's airstrikes on the Islamic State group.

Jean-Yves Le Drian also said France, which has limited airstrikes so far to Iraq, would continue to evaluate whether to extend them to Syria, as the United States has done to thwart the extremists' advances. He said French jets were in flight even as he spoke.

Le Drian told RTL radio on Friday that the goal of the groups is to "spread terror" after he was asked about the 30,000 French citizens living in Algeria.

Herve Goudel was seized Sunday while hiking in the Djura Djura mountains of northern Algeria. His Algerian companions were freed.