14 Sep 2014

Second British hostage held by Islamic State named

The second British hostage held by Islamic State militants is named as Alan Henning by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The second British hostage held by Islamic State militants is named as Alan Henning.


His family released a picture (above) of him on Sunday taken at a refugee camp on the Turkish-Syrian border.

The news came as the United States claimed that several Arab countries have offered to join it in carrying out attacks against the Islamic extremists.

“I don’t want to leave you with the impression that these Arab members haven’t offered to do air strikes because several of them have,” a senior US State Department official told reporters in Paris.

Air strikes

The official said the offers were not limited to air strikes on Iraq. “Some have indicated for quite a while a willingness to do them elsewhere,” the official said. “We have to sort through all of that because you can’t just go and bomb something.”

American officials refused to identify which countries had made the offers but said they were under consideration, Reuters reported. The USA is reportedly identifying roles for each country in its emerging coalition against jihadists who have declared a caliphate in the heart of the Middle East.

The addition of Arab fighter jets could strengthen the credibility of the American-led campaign in a region skeptical of how far Washington will commit to a conflict in which nearly every country has a stake, set against the backdrop of Islam’s 1,300-year-old rift between Sunnis and Shi’ites.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said he was “extremely encouraged” by pledges of military assistance.

“We have countries in this region, countries outside of this region, in addition to the United States, all of whom are prepared to engage in military assistance, in actual strikes if that is what it requires. And we also have a growing number of people who are prepared to do all the other things,” Kerry said in remarks aired on Sunday on the CBS program Face the Nation.

On Thursday, Kerry won the backing for a “coordinated military campaign” from 10 Arab countries – Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and six Gulf states including rich rivals Saudi Arabia and Qatar.


Earlier on Sunday, the Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain was willing to take any steps necessary to defeat Islamic State. Speaking after video footage of the murder of David Haines emerged, he said: “we are a peaceful people, we do not seek out confrontation. But we need to understand – we cannot ignore this threat to our security and that of our allies.

“There is no option of keeping our heads down that would make us safe. The problem would merely get worse, as it has done over recent months. Not just for us, but for Europe and for the world.

“We cannot just walk on by if we are to keep this country safe. We have to confront this menace. Step by step, we must drive back, dismantle and ultimately destroy [Islamic State] and what it stands for.”

Haines was the first British hostage to be killed by the militants and his death followed those of two American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.