02:22 - Source: CNN
Hostage threat in 'ISIS video'

Story highlights

Hostage identifies himself as Tomislav Salopek

Company says Salopek was abducted in Egypt on July 22

ISIS' Egyptian branch claims it will kill him if Egypt doesn't release female Muslim prisoners

CNN  — 

In a video purportedly released by ISIS on Wednesday, a group claiming to be ISIS’ branch in the Sinai Peninsula threatens to kill a Croatian hostage if Egypt doesn’t release female Muslim prisoners in 48 hours.

The apparent hostage in the video identifies himself as Tomislav Salopek.

Kneeling in a jumpsuit in front of a masked, knife-holding man in camouflage, the hostage reads from a paper, saying he was captured on July 22 and works for a French geoscience firm.

Ardiseis Egypt, part of the French firm CGG, said the hostage in the video appears to be Salopek, who it says was a subcontracted worker who was kidnapped in Cairo on July 22.

The Croatian government is “making all the efforts to resolve the difficult situation of the Croatian citizen T.S.,” the Croatian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday, in an apparent reference to Salopek.

CNN couldn’t immediately independently verify the authenticity of the video, which was released on social media.

The ministry said last month that armed men stopped and kidnapped a Croatian national with the initials T.S. in Cairo on July 22 while he was driving to work at a French-owned company.

Expert: Designed to increase group’s support among Egypt’s jihadis

Mokhtar Awad, an expert on Egyptian jihadi groups at the Center for American Progress, said the hostage taking was likely a calculated ploy by ISIS’ Egyptian affiliate to increase its support among jihadis in Egypt, where it is competing with al Qaeda affiliated groups for recruits.

Awad, the co-author of a major report on the Islamic State in Egypt set to be published by CTC Sentinel later this month, said the group’s demand for the Egyptian government to release female prisoners should be understood in this context, with the plight of female prisoners being a hot-button issue among Islamists in Egypt.

Awad said the abduction, which he said appears to have taken place on a road leading from the southwestern outskirts of Cairo, also appeared to be a message that the group could strike everywhere in Egypt.