Two seperate groups were involved in the kidnapping of Croatian Tomislav Salopek — who was reportedly beheaded by an ISIS affiliate Wednesday — in Egypt last month, the Croatian Foreign Minister said Thursday.
Speaking in Rijeka, Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic said that his original captors had initially requested money from the company Salopek worked for, but then handed him over to ISIS who requested the release of Muslim women from Egyptian jails, AP reported.
"No money request was made then but rather the release of Muslim women from Egyptian jails — which was a bad sign, as some 99 percent of the jailed women in Egypt are Muslim and the captors did not specify who they really wanted to be released," Pusic said.
"The conclusion was that there is no specific request and that we were dealing with two different organizations. One that kidnapped him and the other that identified itself as the Islamic State."
Images posted on Twitter Wedneday showed that Salopek had been beheaded, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi activity.
Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said Wednesday afternoon that this government couldn't say "with 100% certainty" that Salopek had been killed, but that they feared the worst.
The news comes a week after the group threatened to kill Salopek if the Egyptian government did not release a number of female Muslim prisoners.
The image reportedly included a caption accusing Croatia of taking part in the war against ISIS.
On Aug. 5, Sinai Province of the Islamic State released a video featuring Salopek saying, "They want to substitute me for the Muslim womans arrested in Egyptian prisons. These matters have to be achieved before 48 hours from now; if not, the soldiers of Sinai Province will kill me," SITE said.
Salopek and his wife, Natasa, married in 2007, and the couple have two young children.
Francis Whittaker is a homepage editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Francis Whittaker at email@example.com.
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