An image posted online appears to show that ISIS captive Tomislav Salopek of Croatia has been beheaded, the SITE Intelligence Group said Wednesday.
The Islamic State ally posted a photo of what it said was the dead body of Croatian hostage Tomislav Salopek.
“Croatia will not participate in combat activities against the so-called Islamic State”, the Croatian prime minister also said.
Mr Salopek’s abduction and purported killing were unprecedented in Egypt, which is battling an IS insurgency in the eastern Sinai Peninsula.
A caption on the still image purporting to show Salopek’s body states in Arabic he was killed “for his country’s participation in the war against the Islamic State”, the Associated Press reports.
The foreign ministry said in a statement late last month that “T.S.” – who was born in 1984 – was kidnapped on July 22 in Cairo while driving to work at a French company.
The 30-year-old Croat, a married father of two, identified himself in the earlier video as working for an Egypt-based branch of the French company CGG and said in hesitant English that those holding him “want to substitute me” for the imprisoned women, and gave a 48-hour deadline for their release.
On August 5, ISIS had released a video threatening to kill the Croatian citizen if its demands to the Egyptian government were not met within 48 hours.
Although ISIL’s Egyptian affiliate has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers, the country had been spared the gruesome kidnappings and executions of foreigners conducted by the extremist group in Iraq and Syria.
PM Zoran Milanovic addressed the nation after an Egyptian jihadist group claimed it had killed Tomislav Salopek, who was seized three weeks ago.
Egypt’s Al-Azhar institute, the top centre of religious learning for Sunni Muslims, has condemned the apparent killing, calling it a “demonic act” contrary to all religion.
“We will not stop searching (for Salopek) as long as the slightest hope exists”, he said.
Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has expressed her deepest sympathy to the family of Salopek but noted that his death has not been confirmed.
Salopek’s father had appealed to the kidnappers to release him, and Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic had travelled to Cairo for emergency talks.
It was the first time the Islamic State affiliate released a video showing a kidnapped foreigner in Egypt, AP reported.
The group has also taken responsibility for an attack on the Italian consulate in Cairo last month.
That would represent a major shift in strategy for Sinai Province, which had largely framed its violent campaign as a response to government brutality and had focused most of its attacks on the military and police.