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Hostage Last Seen in Video 2 Years Ago May Be Alive

John Cantlie was kidnapped in 2012
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2019 9:20 AM CST
This photo posted online on March 18, 2016, shows British photographer John Cantlie.   (militant video, Amaq News Agency via AP)

(Newser) – In November 2012, British war photographer John Cantlie and American journalist James Foley were kidnapped in Syria and held by ISIS. In August 2014, Foley was beheaded. Now comes word that the British government believes Cantlie is still alive more than six years later, and still being held by ISIS. That's what UK Security Minister Ben Wallace told reporters on Tuesday when he was explicitly asked if Cantlie—named by Wallace as the most high-profile British hostage currently—is thought to be alive. He did not elaborate. NBC News cites a tweet from the Free John Cantlie Twitter account that reads in part, "We are aware of the current news circulating that John Cantlie is alive, whilst this is not substantiated at present, we continue to hope and pray that this turns out to be true."

CNN reports Cantlie was kidnapped in Syria in July 2012, but that captivity lasted only a week thanks to a rescue by the Free Syrian Army. He said of that ordeal, "The imagination can run riot. These are not nice thoughts ... and I absolutely had them." Cantlie has been seen in more than a dozen ISIS propaganda videos. CNN notes he "appeared skeletal" in a December 2016 video. The New York Times reports Cantlie hasn't appeared in a video for more than two years. The Times adds that last month an official with the Syrian Democratic Forces also said Cantlie might still be alive, possibly held in ISIS' last stronghold in eastern Syria. (Cantlie's father died in 2014.)

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