Croatia says hostage was kidnapped by criminals and handed over to the Islamic State group

A Croatian hostage reportedly slain in Egypt was kidnapped by an unidentified group that demanded a ransom from his employer before turning him over to the Islamic State group, Croatia’s Foreign Minister said Thursday.

SARAJEVO, Bosnia — A Croatian hostage reportedly slain in Egypt was kidnapped by an unidentified group that demanded a ransom from his employer before turning him over to the Islamic State group, Croatia’s Foreign Minister said Thursday.

Speaking in the Croatian coastal town of Rijeka, Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic said the original captors requested money from the French geoscience company that employed 30-year-old Tomislav Salopek.

The company says it received a ransom demand eight days after Salopek was kidnapped on July 22, but it included no phone number and multiple emails to the address it came from went unreturned.

On Aug. 5, a video emerged showing Salopek as a hostage of the Islamic State branch in Egypt. At that point, his captors demanded not money but the release of unspecified Muslim women from Egyptian jails.

“The conclusion was that there is no specific request and that we were dealing with two different organizations,” Pusic said, “one that kidnapped him and the other that identified itself as the Islamic State.”

The IS radio station announced Thursday that its Egyptian affiliate had killed Salopek, the first word from the extremist group a day after a gruesome image of his beheading circulated online.

Christophe Barnini, the chief spokesman for Salopek’s employer, CGG, said that “at no moment did we enter negotiations with the kidnappers about a ransom.”

The emailed ransom demand was not signed. For three days CGG sent replies to the email, in accord with Egyptian and Croatian authorities, Barnini said. The emails asked for proof of life and included a telephone number for the kidnappers to contact CGG, but they were never answered.

Authorities still have not confirmed that Salopek was killed and are continuing the search for him and his captors. It would be the first slaying of a foreign captive in Egypt, with the release of a video of him alive and then a photo of the alleged beheading, since the emergence of an Islamic State affiliate there. The government has been struggling to project an image of stability and revive the economy following years of unrest.

Pusic said she has met with representatives of about 80 other Croatian citizens working in Egypt and the government is considering stronger security measures for them, including the protection of the Egyptian army.

Islamic State militants in the Middle East and North Africa have taken a number of civilians hostage in recent years. Many European hostages have been released, reportedly in exchange for ransom, while citizens of the United States and Britain, which refuse to pay ransoms, have been killed. IS has released a number of graphic videos showing the beheading of hostages.

IS radio station Al-Bayan said that “soldiers of the Caliphate” killed Salopek, “whose country is participating in the war against the Islamic State.”

It said the killing came after a deadline passed for “the renegade Egyptian government” to meet his captors’ demands to free jailed women.

Just Posted

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

It’s going to be a long, cold and messy winter across much… Continue reading

A lesson in excellence and success

Mary Kemmis, president of the Prairie Division of Black Press Media, and… Continue reading

Etihad launches more fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Abu Dhabi’s flagship carrier Etihad Airways announced… Continue reading

Ford Mustang SUV starts a blitz of new electric vehicles

DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford is unveiling its first all-electric SUV, marking the… Continue reading

Flood-hit Venice’s dwindling population faces mounting woes

VENICE, Italy — One of only four oar makers for Venice’s famed… Continue reading

Central Albertans help families during holidays with Christmas Wish Breakfast

It takes a community to help a community. And Sunday morning at… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Nov. 19 The Mountview Sunnybrook Community Association will hold its AGM at… Continue reading

Opinion: The buck stops with Red Deer city council

Red Deer city council has taken measures to distance itself from decisions… Continue reading

A lesson in excellence and success

Mary Kemmis, president of the Prairie Division of Black Press Media, and… Continue reading

Sundin on Leafs’ struggles: ‘You’re very exposed in a market like Toronto’

TORONTO — Mats Sundin knows what life’s like when things are going… Continue reading

Canada downs Dominican Republic in women’s basketball Olympic pre-qualifier

EDMONTON — Canada’s women’s basketball team put its depth on display Sunday… Continue reading

Literati glams up to anoint next winner of $100K Scotiabank Giller Prize

TORONTO — Canada’s literary cognoscenti is getting ready to walk the red… Continue reading

UK media: Prince Andrew’s sex claims rebuttal a PR disaster

LONDON — British media on Sunday slammed Prince Andrew’s effort to rebut… Continue reading

‘Ford v Ferrari’ speeds to No. 1; ‘Charlie’s Angels’ fizzles

NEW YORK — “Ford v Ferrari” put its competition in the rearview,… Continue reading

Most Read