IS claims to have beheaded Croatian man kidnapped in Egypt

Croatian citizen Tomislav Salopek has been beheaded in Egypt, the Zagreb-based daily Jutranji List is reporting on Wednesday.

Source: B92, Tanjug
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Salopek was kidnapped by Islamic State extremists.

The newspaper said it received confirmation from Egypt's Al-Youm al-Sabea website, while AFP reported earlier that information about the beheading was posted on websites used by IS militants.

Several Twitter accounts used by extremists have published photographs showing Salopek's body and the severed head. IS announced that the Croatian was killed on the Sinai because his country is taking part in the war against the organization.

B92 has reviewed the disturbing images purporting to show Salopek's body in order to verify the news, but will not publish them. Croatian website Index has appealed on its readers not to share the images that can be found on social networks, out of respect for the victim's family, and also because "this is precisely what Islamic terrorists want."

The website also said it did not receive confirmation from the Croatian Foreign Ministry that the hostage was dead.

Salopek was kidnapped on July 22 in Cairo, while in a company car and on his way to work. He was employed by the Compagnie Generale de Geophysique (CGG).

Ten days later a photograph was published showing him kneeling in a desert with a masked man armed with a knife behind him. Islamic State gave Egyptian authorities 48 hours to free Muslim women from jail and said it would behead Salopek after this deadline had expired. A wide-ranging search was launched in that country after this.

Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic then traveled to Egypt along with Salopek's wife in a bid to help the search, while her Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic offered Serbia's help in these efforts.

IS said on Saturday that the hostage had been killed and images to this effect showed up on the internet. However, those could not be verified so none of the leading media carried the news.

The Zagreb-based daily Vecrenji List is reporting this Wednesday that Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic will hold an extraordinary press conference at 17:00 CET, and that President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has "canceled all earlier appointments for the day."

Speaking in Belgrade after his meeting with Milorad Pupovac, a representative of Serbs from Croatia, Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic said that if the reports about Salopek's death are true, he was offering his deepest condolences to the family of the victim and to Croatia on his own behalf, and on behalf of his cabinet.

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