UK believes IS captive Cantlie is alive: Minister

John Cantlie features in an ISIS propaganda video. Ben Wallace Britain's security minister believes Cantlie is still alive

It's over six years since the British journalist John Cantlie went missing in Syria.

FILE - This file image taken from video released on Wednesday Dec. 7, 2016 by the Islamic State's Amaq news agency, shows captive British photojournalist John Cantlie in what appeared to be central Mosul, Iraq.

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.

Between 2014 and 2016, ISIS released a series of propaganda videos that featured Cantlie.

Mr Wallace, who spoke in a meeting with foreign journalists at the Home Office, would not say where the United Kingdom believes Mr Cantlie is being held.

The Free John Cantlie campaign said they hoped and prayed the latest news was true.

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Cantlie was also reported dead previous year by media citing Iraq's Al-Sura News Agency, which said he was killed in the Mosul operation. In January, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) reported similar information. But he said officials believe Cantlie is still being held by ISIS extremists.

However, a French ISIL fighter told the French magazine Paris Match in October 2017 that he had seen Cantlie "seven or eight months ago" in Raqqa, the ISIL stronghold in Syria.

Cantlie was kidnapped in Syria in late 2012 alongside James Foley, the USA journalist, who was beheaded on camera in 2014.

Mr Wallace named Mr Cantlie as one of an unspecified number hostages as he reiterated official British policy that the United Kingdom does not negotiate or pay ransoms in kidnapping situations. British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines were also killed.

His work has appeared in newspapers including the Sunday Times, the Sun and Sunday Telegraph.

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