|Croatian citizen Tomislav Salopek, kidnapped by ISIS in Egypt|
(Image: Egyptian Streets)
ISIS affiliated group Vilayat Sinai (Sinai Province) based in Northern Sinai has released video on Wednesday, 5 August, where it threatens to execute a Croatian citizen within 28 hours if the group’s demands won’t be met.
The video was titled “Message to Egyptian government” and was spread in social media by some supporters and sympathizers of the radical group on Wednesday.
The video shows a man in his thirties, sitting on his knees and dressed in an orange suit, typical for the ISIS executions videos. An armed man in a uniform and with the covered face stands behind him. The hostage holds a paper and reads from it the message to Egyptian government. He calls himself Croatian citizen Tomislav Salopek and says he works in Cairo for a French oil company CGG. He says he is married and has two children and that he was kidnapped in Cairo on 22 July and is being held hostage by Vilayat Sinai since that time.
“Soldiers of Islamic State in the Caliphate of Vilayat Sinai caught me on Wednesday, 22 July,” reads Tomislav from the paper he holds in his hands. “They want to swap me for the Muslim women arrested in Egyptian prisons”. He says ISIS affiliated group demands all those Muslim women to be released from the prisons within 48 hours or he will be executed.
Tomislav though doesn’t mention when the countdown starts.
Croatian embassy and Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated earlier that one of the country’s citizens with the initials T.S. was kidnapped by some armed men in Cairo on 22 July. He was heading to his office in Cairo, when his car was stopped by the unknown armed men, who demanded him to leave the car and took him with them. Egyptian security forces were searching for the Croatian citizen since that time. Croatian authorities in their turn confirmed the identity of Tomislav Salopek. Egyptian authorities are expected to make an official statement regarding this issue, as Croatian officials met with Egyptian colleagues to discuss the situation.
Sinai based Vilaya Sinai, former Ansar Beyt Al-Maqdis, has been terrorizing Sinai and Egypt since ouster of the Islamist backed President Mohamed Morsi, attacking mostly Egyptian security and Armed Forces. Earlier this year the group pledged allegiance to ISIS.
The warning from the ISIS affiliated group came one day ahead of the official ceremony of Opening of the News Suez Canal set to be held on Thursday, 6 August. Opening Ceremony of the New Suez Canal, that is one of the biggest and most significant projects of the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, is expected to be visited by the high officials from the numerous worlds’ states.
Egyptian Armed Forces and police tightened security in Suez, Sinai and all over the country ahead of the Opening Ceremony, as the jihadist group has threatened Egypt with the terrorist attacks before and during the ceremony.