Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Egypt could not confirm the reported killing of Croatian “Islamic State” hostage Tomislav Salopek, as images of his decapitated body, circulated on social media Wednesday. The video surfaced following claims by the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) group of responsibility for his ‘beheading’.
Neither Egypt’s Ministry of Interior nor the Croatian embassy in Cairo could confirm the news. Shoukry told Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic that “the photos that spread should be examined to see if they are genuine”, adding that “research efforts were still ongoing to find Salopek”.
Shoukry added that there were also efforts to pursue the perpetuators, but that so far security forces have not received information proving Salopek’s death.
According to Reuters, IS broadcast audio on Thursday in which it said that in the“State of Sinai, the soldiers of the caliphate killed the Croatian captive whose country participated in the war on Islamic State after the deadline expired and both the Egyptian and his own governments abandoned him”.
Addressing the nation, Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic urged people “not to expose their children to the gruesome image and said we can not 100% confirm it is true, but what we see looks horrific”.
Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic also spoke of “moments of deep uncertainty”, and her country’s determination to continue to search for Salopek as long as there is a “glimmer of hope”.
In a video released on 5 August, IS-affiliated militant group “State of Sinai” threatened to kill Croatian hostage Tomislav Salopek if Egypt does not release “Muslim female captives”.
Salopek was shown in the short video wearing orange prisoner clothes, which are given to captives by groups affiliated to the “Islamic State” militant group. Next to him is a militant in combat clothes with a knife in hand.
Salopek can be heard saying he works for Compagnie Générale de Géophysique (CGG), a French-based company that provides geophysical services to oil and gas companies. The 31-year-old Croat “was kidnapped in Cairo while driving a vehicle to work at a French-owned company”. It remains unknown the location of his execution.
In a TV interview Wednesday, Shoukry said that there should be more efforts by the international community to prevent terrorist operations that target different countries. He blamed the UN Security Council by stating that “its response to Egypt’s demands regarding the situation in Libya was slow and not firm.”
In March, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi called on the United Nation’s Security Council for international intervention in Libya, a day after the Egyptian armed forces carried out an airstrike on self-proclaimed “Islamic State” in response to their killing of 20 Coptic Egyptians.