Egypt's Salafist Nour party on Saturday condemned the kidnapping of Coptic Egyptians, after photos circulating online showed them to be hostages of Islamic State (IS) fighters.
The Islamist party's secretary general Galal Morra insisted that IS has no relation to Islam, saying that their action is criminal and emanates from hatred towards Egypt, reported Egypt's state news agency MENA.
Morra called on the government to take steps "before it's too late," and urged the Egyptian people and government to unite in the face of "plans against the nation."
Friday saw demonstrations by families of the victims and a press conference by prime minister Ibrahim Mahlab, who announced that authorities are monitoring the situation minute-by-minute, heeding the instructions of the president, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.
The Nour party is the largest Islamist group to have backed Egypt's transition after the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
The undated photos, published in the latest edition of a magazine affiliated to the extremist group and dated December-January, showed men handcuffed and wearing the orange-coloured jumpsuits often donned by IS prisoners about to be executed.
The IS fighters claimed the kidnapped Egyptians had been captured to avenge the Muslim women "tortured and murdered by the Coptic church of Egypt".