Online image purports to show Croat killed by Islamic State
An online image circulated Wednesday purported to show the beheading of a Croatian hostage held by the Islamic State group’s Egyptian affiliate, the first such killing of a foreign captive in Egypt since the extremists set up a branch here.
The killing of the 30-year-old oil and gas sector surveyor likely will rattle companies with expatriate workers in Egypt and cast a cloud over President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s attempts to boost international investment to revive the economy, battered by years of turmoil.
The still image, shared by Islamic State sympathizers on social media, showed the apparent body of Tomislav Salopek, a married, father of two, wearing a beige jumpsuit looking like the one he had worn in a previous video. A black flag used by the Islamic State group and a knife were planted in the sand next to him.
The photo carried a caption in Arabic that said Salopek was killed “for his country’s participation in the war against the Islamic State,” and after a deadline had passed for the Egyptian government to meet their demands.
The picture also contained an inset of two Egyptian newspaper reports, with one headline declaring Croatia’s support of Egypt in its war against terrorism and extremism and another saying Croatia reiterated its support for the Kurdistan region. Croatian troops also were part of the coalition forces in Iraq and they still serve in the NATO-led force in Afghanistan.
Egyptian Foreign Ministry officials were not immediately avail- able for comment. An official at the Croatian Embassy in Cairo who refused to give his name said the embassy cannot comment on the incident. The Croatian Foreign Ministry declined to immediately comment.
The Associated Press could not independently verify the image. However, it bore markings consistent the filmed hostage demand the group made last week.
In that video, the Islamic State affiliate set an Aug. 7 deadline for Egyptian authorities to free “Muslim women,” a term referring to female Islamist prisoners detained in a sweeping government crackdown following the 2013 military ouster of the country’s Islamist president.
The extremists’ videotaped demand was entitled “A Message to the Egyptian Government,” and was shot in the style of previous Islamic State propaganda videos.
Salopek, a surveyor working with France’s CGG Ardiseis, was abducted in western Cairo last month. The company has an office in the leafy Maadi suburb, where many expats and diplomats live.