As Americans have been captivated by political theatrics, the deadly march of ISIS and radical Islam have been pushed out of the headlines. We ignore it at our peril, because the spread of this heinous cancer continues.
Brutal beheadings are not new to ISIS – we have already witnessed many – but the location of this latest atrocity is. Now Egypt, until now seen as somewhat safe for Westerners, is emerging as a new terrifying front.
Yesterday, as the New York Times reports, a militant group affiliated with the Islamic State said it had beheaded a Croatian expatriate worker who was kidnapped on the outskirts of Cairo last month.
The claim, if confirmed, would represent the first time that the militant group, Sinai Province, had taken captive and killed a foreigner during two years of attacks against the government. A photograph posted on Wednesday on a Twitter account associated with the group appeared to show the victim, Tomislav Salopek, a 30-year-old father of two, beheaded and lying in the desert.
Mr. Salopek’s employer said he was leaving Egypt for a vacation on the day he was abducted and was headed to the airport when gunmen stopped his car.
The apparent killing, which evoked the brutal, videotaped executions by the Islamic State group, was ominous for both Egypt and the region. It provided new evidence that militant groups that have aligned themselves with the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, were adopting its tactics. And it was the strongest indication yet that the Egyptian militant group was expanding its focus beyond attacks against the security forces to target civilians and foreigners.
After the shootings in Tunisia last month, I cannot say I would be eager to plan a vacation anywhere near the region.
The Times says Egyptian militants have recently mounted more ambitious assaults, unleashing a torrent of violence since June. The militants have killed Egypt’s top prosecutor, briefly occupied a town in the northern Sinai Peninsula and fired a missile at a naval ship. They have also tried to attack two of Egypt’s most popular tourist destinations, the pyramids and the Karnak temple in Luxor, and have bombed the Italian Consulate in Cairo.
And just in case you’re geographically challenged, here’s a reminder of which small, critically important nation borders the Sinai. The noose is tightening.
[Note: This article was written by Michele Hickford, Editor-in-Chief]