Kidnapped British journalist appears in new ISIS video

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British Hostage Appears In Another ISIS Prop Video

Standing before the shell of what was once the University of Mosul, a visibly gaunt and long-haired John Cantlie appears in a new video published by an ISIS-linked agency, as though he were reporting a news story.

Filmed by a drone audibly buzzing over him, Cantlie criticizes the bombing of the university, which he describes as the most prestigious and oldest in all of Iraq. "The level of destruction is absolutely massive," he says into the camera. "If it was a military hard point if it was a weapons cache ... perhaps you could understand ... you have to ask yourself, why did the coalition decide to destroy the university?"

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The captive Cantlie has been an ISIS mouthpiece for years, masquerading as a reporter in videos meant to look like news clips—to present the terror group's own version of events. When ISIS took over the University of Mosul in 2014, the terror group destroyed thousands of ancient manuscripts before re-opening it under its own harsh curriculum and banning subjects including art, philosophy, music, and the study of evolution.

In reality, Baghdad's Mustansariya University is the country's oldest educational institution—not the University of Mosul as Cantlie states. Mustansariya's earliest buildings were established in the 13th century.

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What Falluja looks like after years of ISIS occupation
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What Falluja looks like after years of ISIS occupation
A view is seen of streets in Falluja after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, Iraq, June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
A view of streets in Falluja, Iraq, June 26, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Destroyed buildings from clashes are seen on the outskirt of Falluja, Iraq, June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Damaged buildings are seen from clashes in Falluja, Iraq, after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad
Damaged mosque is seen in Falluja, Iraq, after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad
A view of a street in Falluja, Iraq, after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad
Members of Iraqi government forces celebrate on a street in Falluja after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, Iraq, June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
A member of Iraqi counterterrorism forces walks with his weapon in Falluja, Iraq, June 26, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
A member of the Iraqi counterterrorism forces stands by an Islamic State militants weapons factory in Falluja, Iraq, June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A member of the Iraqi security forces looks at explosives abandoned by Islamic State militants at a school in Falluja, Iraq, June 25, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Rocket-propelled grenades left behind by Islamic State militants are seen at a school, following clashes in Falluja, Iraq, June 25, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
A book belonging to Islamic State militants is seen in Falluja after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, Iraq, June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Burnt out prison cells belonging to Islamic State militants are seen in Falluja after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, Iraq, June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A burnt out prison cell belonging to Islamic State militants is seen in Falluja after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, Iraq, June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Members of the Shi'ite Badr Organisation inspect a factory abandoned by Islamic State militants, in Falluja, Iraq, June 25, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
A member of the Iraqi security forces tears up a signboard of the Islamic State militants in Falluja, Iraq, after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Iraqi counterterrorism forces pose for a picture in Falluja, Iraq, June 26, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A fighter from the Iraqi Shi'ite Badr Organization holds his rifle in an underground tunnel built by Islamic State fighters on the outskirts of Falluja, Iraq, May 28, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
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The video, released by the pro-ISIS media network Amaq, is said to have been made on July 12. In it, Cantlie says the bombing of the university occurred several months ago.

The Pentagon reported in March that the university had been targeted because it was used by ISIS as one of its headquarters in the city. The group had not expected the university to be hit because it was in the middle of a residential and commercial district and the civilian toll would have been high. In the video, Cantlie says over a hundred people were wounded in the strike and 15 were killed, but does not say whether they were civilians or ISIS members.

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Cantlie, wearing a grey shirt and black trousers made loose by his thinness, also appears in front of the bombed-out facade of a bank he says the coalition fired a missile into, setting it ablaze. "This isn't some fancy bank for foreign international clients it's a bank for the people of Mosul," Cantlie says. "It serves Mosul and they've set it on fire with a huge missile in the middle of a civilian shopping center. The danger to civilian life is enormous and what do they do? Unbelievable."

The bank is one of four hit by the coalition in February this year. In the aftermath, the Pentagon said they were used as financial distribution centers for the group, while ISIS took to social media to claim "the banks were totally empty of cash."

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Cantlie was kidnapped in November 2012 along with American journalist James Foley, who the terror group executed in August 2014. Since then, Cantlie has appeared in countless propaganda films for the group and "penned" articles in ISIS' Dabiq magazine, in which he criticizes the U.S. administration. He was last seen in a video for ISIS in March.

The post Kidnapped British Journalist Appears In New ISIS Video appeared first on Vocativ.

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