UK believes Islamic State hostage photojournalist John Cantlie is alive

Cheryl Sanders
February 7, 2019

John Cantlie, the British journalist captured by the Islamic State (Isil) seven years ago, is believed to be still alive, a security minister has said.

Foley was beheaded alongside other British and American hostages in 2014, while Cantlie was forced to appear in propaganda videos criticising Western foreign policy and military action.

Cantlie was used by the terror group in over a dozen propaganda videos.

He did say officials believe Cantlie is still being held by so-called Islamic State operatives. "Whilst this is not substantiated at present, we continue to hope and pray that this turns out to be true", the group said.

It is unclear whether the views he expressed were his own or whether he was speaking under duress.

The Free John Cantlie campaign cautiously welcomed the news.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said they, too, believe Cantlie is alive.

Before he was taken hostage, Cantlie worked for several British publications, including The Sunday Times, The Sun and The Sunday Telegraph.

The second abduction occurred when he returned to Syria in November 2012.

He was kidnapped in November 2012 along with United States journalist James Foley, who was later beheaded.

Wallace named Cantlie as the most public and prominent British hostage, and when asked directly if the belief is Cantlie is still alive, he said yes. His father Paul Cantlie released a video shortly before dying, two years after his capture.

He refused to provide details but said it was not United Kingdom policy to pay ransoms.

"I was not consulted", said Gen. Joseph Votel, the top commander in the Middle East, who spoke Tuesday at a hearing held by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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