“… However, what we have seen… doesn’t look good”.
Salopek, a surveyor working with France’s CGG Ardiseis, was abducted on July 22. ISIL had issued a 48-hour deadline that ended last Friday, threatening to kill him if Muslim female prisoners were not released from Egyptian jails.
Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the picture.
Two weeks later, he appeared wearing a brown jumpsuit in a video posted online by the group, which calls itself the Sinai Province of the Islamic State.
The Croatian prime minister stated on Wednesday that Croatia would not participate in fight against Daesh despite reports that a Croatian national was executed by Daesh in Egypt.
Sinai Province is at the forefront of an Islamist militant insurgency in Egypt that has killed hundreds of soldiers and police in the two years since the military ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi after protests against his rule in 2013.
However, the group has previously beheaded Bedouin in Sinai who it accused of collaborating with the Egyptian army.
If confirmed, it would be the second killing by insurgents of a foreign worker on Egyptian soil, and the first that resembles previous executions of hostages by the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) in Iraq, Syria and Libya.
The image was accompanied by a caption in Arabic that said the hostage’s death came in response to “his country’s participation in the war against the Islamic State”.
Mr Salopek was seized while travelling about 22km (14 miles) west of Cairo on 22 July, security sources said.
He was among thousands of Croats who left the crisis-hit Balkans state to pursue opportunities overseas.
Earlier in the day, the extremist organization posted images on the internet purporting to show that Tomislav Salopek had been beheaded. Nor, he said, should it change how citizens approach the world; doing so would give ISIS exactly what it wants.
“Everybody would like to have such a child”. The statement also said Islamic law stipulates that it is forbidden to shed the blood of foreigners.
A Croatian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said they had “no confirmation” regarding the hostage it has only referred to by the initials T.S.
The Egyptian government had publicly said it is doing its best to secure Salopek’s release.
Cairo-based Al-Azhar, a prestigious Sunni Islam learning centre, condemned the reported beheading.
“While there is any hint of the possibility that Tomislav Salopek is still alive, we will continue with the rescue attempts”, she said, adding that she thanked the Muslim community in Croatia for their public appeal to save Salopek’s life.
A firefighter friend, Drazen Pavlovic, described the first Croatian to be killed by a jihadist group as an agreeable sort “who never argued with anyone”.