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Isis threatens to execute European hostage unless jailed women are freed

In a video posted online by the jihadists, the Croatian identifies himself as Tomislav Salopek.

EGYPT’S AFFILIATE OF the Islamic State group is threatening to execute a Croatian kidnapped in Cairo last month within 48 hours if Muslim women jailed in Egypt are not freed.

The man is the first foreigner to be abducted and threatened with death by militants in Egypt since an Islamist insurgency erupted two years ago.

In a video posted online by the jihadists, the Croatian identifies himself as Tomislav Salopek working for French geoscience company CGG, and appears kneeling at the feet of a hooded man holding a knife.

Reading from a sheet of paper, he says he will be executed within 48 hours if Egypt’s government fails to release Muslim women held in prisons.

Salopek, wearing an orange jumpsuit, did not say when the countdown began.

He said he was abducted on July 22 by the Sinai Province group, IS’s Egyptian affiliate based in the Sinai Peninsula.

flag Source: Screengrab from the video

Formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the group changed its name when it pledged allegiance to IS in November.

In Zagreb, the foreign ministry said the “Croatian government… is doing its best to solve as soon as possible the difficult situation in which the Croatian citizen T.S. is,” identifying the hostage only with his initials.

“Considering the very difficult and sensitive circumstances and in order not to make a difficult situation worse, we are not able to provide more detailed information at this moment.”

Croatia’s Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic will travel to the Egyptian capital today, the ministry later added in another statement.

“Pusic is in contact with the Egyptian foreign minister and in agreement with him and his recommendations she will go to Cairo,” it said.

CGG confirmed that the man in the video was one of its “sub-contracted staff working on a land acquisition seismic crew” and that he had been “kidnapped on July 22nd while in transit in Cairo”.

“He is the hostage appearing on the video released today by the Sinai Province of Islamic State,” it said, without naming him.

Salopek, a father of two, is the first foreigner to be abducted and threatened with death by militants in Egypt since the Islamist insurgency broke out after the army’s ouster of president Mohamed Morsi two years ago.

The threat to execute Salopek comes ahead of today’s inauguration of the “new” Suez Canal in the port city of Ismailiya, with hundreds of foreign dignitaries, including French President Francois Hollande, due to attend.

© AFP, 2015

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