Hampshire photojournalist captured by Islamic State is 'believed to be still alive'

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

Wallace, who was last seen in an ISIL propaganda video in Mosul in 2016, did not say whether Cantlie is in Iraq or Syria.

Wallace, who made the remarks in London at a briefing for global journalists, did not elaborate or say whether Cantlie is thought to be in areas still held by ISIS.

The Free John Cantlie campaign cautiously welcomed the news. "Whilst this is not substantiated at present, we continue to hope and pray that this turns out to be true", the group said.

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Asked about British hostages around the world, Wallace said the United Kingdom does not pay ransom and discourages other countries from doing so. "Thank you for your continued support".

Mr Cantlie's fate has occupied minds as the footprint of ISIS territory has shrank inexorable.

He did say officials believe Cantlie is being held by Islamic State operatives.

The ISIL group killed journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and aid worker Peter Kassig, who were all United States citizens. Most recently the Syrian Democratic Forces militia, said Mr Cantlie had been spotted in eastern Syria according to news websites.

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John Cantlie, a photojournalist from Hampshire, was kidnapped in Syria in 2012. In these he appeared on camera wearing orange jumpsuits.

He later appeared in a series of films about life inside ISIS-held cities.

"We do not discuss individual kidnap cases and speculation is unhelpful", a Home Office spokesman said.

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