ALGIERS - Algerian militants have beheaded Fre-nch tourist Herve Gourdel, who was kidnapped by gunmen on Sunday in what the group said was a response to France’s action against Islamic State militants in Iraq.

In a video released by his captors, Gourdel, a 55-year-old from Nice, is seen kneeling with his arms tied behind his back before four masked militants who read out a statement in Arabic criticising France’s intervention. They then pushed him on his side and held him down. The video does not show the beheading, but a militant later holds the head up to the camera.

“This is why the Caliphate Soldiers in Algeria have decided to punish France, by executing this man, and to defend our beloved Islamic State,” one of the militants says in the statement he read out. France’s President Francois Hollande confirmed the death of Gourdel, and vowed that French military operations against Islamic State would continue.

The Caliphate Soldiers, a splinter group linked to Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, had on Monday published a video claiming responsibility for the abduction and showed the man identifying himself as Gourdel.  The kidnapping had come after Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani urged the group’s followers to attack citizens of the United States, France and other countries that joined the coalition to destroy the radical group.

Just before the militants gave their statement in the video, the Frenchman told his family that he loved them.