NEWS
05/02/2019 12:02 GMT | Updated 05/02/2019 12:24 GMT

Security Minister Says ISIS Hostage John Cantlie Is Still Alive

He was captured in Syria in 2012.

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John Cantlie as he appeared in an IS propaganda video in 2016.

A British hostage held by Islamic State for seven years is still alive, according to the UK security minister.

Briefing a group of foreign journalists and researchers at the Home Office on Tuesday morning, Ben Wallace said the government believes John Cantlie is still a prisoner of the terrorist group.

Captured by IS in Syria in 2012, he had fronted a series of propaganda videos for Islamic State but had not been seen alive since a video was released in 2016.

HuffPost US’s Akbar Shahid Ahmed who was present at the briefing, said Wallace reiterated that the UK does not negotiate with terrorists and would not say if a rescue operation was planned.

Wallace also acknowledged that President Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria would impact UK intelligence gathering efforts in the country.

Cantlie’s skills as a journalist have been exploited by IS in an attempt to give credibility to their propaganda films, including a series titled Lend Me Your Ears.

His sister Jessica has previously appealed for “direct contact” with the militants holding him. 

In 2014, his 80-year-old father Paul issued a video appeal from his hospital bed for his son’s release. He died from complications following pneumonia shortly afterwards.

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