John Cantlie, a British photojournalist held hostage by Islamic State militants for years, might still be alive, a United Kingdom government minister said Tuesday.
Captive British photojournalist John Cantlie in what appeared to be central Mosul, Iraq [AP] Later he was filmed dressed in civilian clothing and acting as though he was a reporter covering the region.
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.
Cantlie was one of about a dozen Westen hostages held by the group over the past six years. Wallace would not elaborate or say whether Cantlie is believed to be in the rapidly-diminishing area ISIS still holds.
A tweet on an account used by Cantlie's family said: "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".
It is unclear whether the views he expressed were his own or whether he was speaking under duress.
Wallace made the comments to journalists Tuesday.
The Free John Cantlie campaign cautiously welcomed the news.
Last October, Paris Match quoted an ISIS fighter who said he saw the journalist "seven or eight months ago" while in prison.
Cantlie has worked for several publications, including The Sunday Times, The Sun and The Sunday Telegraph.
Foley was beheaded in August 2014.
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.
He stated that the United Kingdom does not pay ransom.