Sister of jailed Egypt activist urges IS not to kill Croat

The sister of a woman jailed in Egypt for alleged ties to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood urged the Islamic State group on Friday not to kill a Croatian hostage they are holding.

The extremist group had earlier said it would do so in the coming hours if the Egyptian government did not release jailed "Muslim women" — a reference to female Islamists detained in Egypt in the government's broad crackdown on Brotherhood supporters.

Doaa el-Taweel, sister of jailed photographer and activist Esraa el-Taweel, said on Friday that her sister is innocent but that "her release should not come at the expense of another innocent person."

Extremists of the Islamic State released a video on Wednesday threatening to kill the Croatian hostage in 48 hours if authorities failed to respond to their demands.

Esraa el-Taweel disappeared in June for weeks before the Interior Ministry announced that they arrested her on charges of belonging to the Brotherhood, which had been declared a terrorist organization, and for spreading false information to tarnish the country's image. She is now awaiting trial.

Meanwhile, an Egyptian security official said that forces were searching for the Croatian hostage across the country, in particular in the provinces of Matrouh, in the west bordering Libya; Beheira, in the Nile Delta; Wadi Gedid, in the southwest and also bordering Libya; and Giza, next to Cairo.

The official said the driver of 30-year-old Tomislav Salopek, who the kidnappers left behind, said that the gunmen who seized the oil and gas industry surveyor off a western Cairo highway had Bedouin accents.

That suggests they could have come from a variety of isolated places in Egypt, including the eastern Sinai Peninsula, where Egypt's Islamic State affiliate is based, or the vast Western desert that's the gateway to volatile and lawless Libya, home to its own Islamic State branch.

The Egyptian official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists.

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