ALGIERS - Algerian special forces believe they have found the body of Herve Gourdel, a French tourist kidnapped and beheaded by Islamist militants last year while hiking in mountains east of Algiers, a security source said on Thursday.
Gourdel was snatched in September by a group of militants that claimed loyalty. They said they executed Gourdel to punish France for its military action in Iraq.
"It is very likely the body of Gourdel, but to be 100 percent sure we still need DNA," a security source who asked not to be named told Reuters.
Gourdel's killing was the first such kidnapping of a foreigner in years in the North African state. During the 1990s, villagers were massacred and civilians slaughtered in Algeria's war with Islamist militants that killed 200,000 people.
Since Gourdel's killing, Algerian security forces had been sweeping mountains east of Algiers looking for the militants responsible. Security forces killed Abdelmalek Gouri, leader of the Caliphate Soldiers, in an ambush in December.
Algeria remains an important U.S. ally in its fight against Islamist militancy in the Sahel region, where al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other jihadist groups are active.