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.

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