LONDON — British photojournalist John Cantlie, who was abducted by the Islamic State more than six years ago alongside American reporter journalist Jim Foley, is believed to be alive, according to Britain’s security minister Ben Wallace.
After being seized in northern Syria, Cantlie fronted several propaganda videos for the terror group, presumably under duress, but has not been seen alive since 2016, when he was featured in a video shot in Mosul at the start of a siege that eventually saw the city fall last year to Iraqi government forces.
Foley, who had worked previously with Cantlie in Libya before the outbreak of the conflict in Syria, was the first Western hostage to be beheaded by IS, an act that provoked worldwide horror.
Among private security experts the consensus until recently was that Cantlie was most likely dead, killed either by his captors or during fighting.
British government officials also privately said they thought he’d been killed. July 2017 Iraqi media outlets reported Cantlie had died in an airstrike during the battle to recapture Mosul. The reports were based on interviews with captured IS fighters. But a French IS fighter told French magazine Paris Match that Cantlie survived the siege of Mosul and had been moved to Raqqa in Syria.
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