The Islamic State’s branch in Egypt’s Sinai province, or Wilayat Sinai, has released a video showing a Croatian hostage in an English-language message threatening the Egyptian government. The hostage, the only person to speak in the short video, says that he will be killed unless Egypt agrees to the demands of the Islamic State.
The captive, identified as Tomislav Salopek, begins by explaining who he is, stating that he is thirty years old and has a family of two children. He then says that he had worked at the Cairo branch of the France-based geophysical company CGG before being kidnapped two weeks ago. He does not specify where he was kidnapped, however.
Salopek then outlines the demands of the Islamic State: “they want to substitute me for the Muslim womans [sic] arrested in Egyptian prisons.” He states that the Egyptian government has 48 hours or “the soldiers of Sinai Province will kill me.”
The short video is similar to earlier ultimatums given by the group. Earlier this year, the infamous ‘Jihadi John,’ the suspected Kuwaiti-British jihadist who issued threats in several hostage videos, released an ultimatum to Japan in which two Japanese nationals were threatened unless Japan paid $200 million. The first, Haruna Yukawa, was killed after the deadline expired. The Islamic State then changed its demands to include the release of Sajida al Rishawi, a would-be female suicide bomber for al Qaeda in Iraq, the predecessor to the Islamic State, who failed to detonate her explosives in Jordan in 2005. [See LWJ report, Islamic State beheads second Japanese hostage.]
Japan was said to have attempted negotiations for the release of the second hostage, Kenji Goto Jogo, and a captured Jordanian pilot who was downed by the Islamic State in December. However, the negotiations reportedly became “deadlocked,”according to the BBC, and Goto was subsequently beheaded. The Jordanian pilot was then burned alive by the jihadist group.
Before the release of those videos, the Islamic State issued demands to the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom before beheading hostages James Foley, Steven Sotloff, David Cawthorne Haines, Alan Henning, and Peter Kassig.
These videos act to intimidate governments in the region and elsewhere, as well as keep up the image that the jihadist organization is still strong and capable of taking on multiple countries at once. The snuff films also help to attract more recruits to the ranks of the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. The Islamic State differs from al Qaeda in this regard, as the latter group, which is no stranger to radical violence, has turned away from such graphic videos. [See LWJ report, Analysis: Islamic State snuff videos help to attract more followers.]