Extremist militants in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula released on Wednesday a footage threatening to slaughter a foreign hostage.
Tomislav Salopek, a 30-year-old Croatian citizen, who kidnapped last month near Cairo, was shown wearing a tan-colored jumpsuit as a knife-wielding masked militant in military fatigues stood behind him.
The ISIS-affiliated Sinai Province (Wilayat Sinai) gave Egyptian government 48 ultimatum to release ‘Muslim women’ formerly detained in the government’s latest crackdown on Islamists.
“If the Egyptian authorities do not act, the soldiers from Wilayet Sinai will kill me”, Salopek, an employee at a French geoscience company and a father of two, calmly read from a note in English.
The abduction is the first of a foreign citizen by hardline anti-government militants and marks a dangerous escalation in the country’s increasing turmoil.
The footage came as the country celebrates a new extension of the renowned Suez Canal.
After Libya, Iraq and Syria, Egypt was caught in a strenuous war against ultra-Islamic militants who had pledged allegiance to the notorious self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS).
Last month, the jihadi group killed at least 50 Egyptian soldiers in simultaneous attacks against Army bases and checkpoints in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula. Earlier in February, ISIS has two dozens of Egyptian Christians in Libya.