Report: Islamic State Captures Four More Foreign Hostages

The extremist Sunni militant group now holds more than 20 such hostages, the U.K.'s Guardian reports.

Islamic State fighters in Raqqa, Syria.
This undated file photo posted by the Raqqa Media Center, a Syrian opposition group, on Monday, June 30, 2014, shows Islamic State fighters in Raqqa. AP

As the world reels from the shocking video of an Islamic State fighter beheading U.S. journalist James Foley, the jihadist group has captured another four foreign hostages near Aleppo, and now hold more than 20, the U.K.'s Guardian reports. 

In the video, released earlier this week, the group, which now controls large swathes of territory in northern Iraq and Syria, also threatened the life of another U.S. journalist, Steven Sotloff, who is still in their hands. An IS fighter says in the video that if the U.S. continues its airstrikes against the group in northern Iraq, Sotloff's life is in danger.

In recent days, the Islamic State has captured two Italian women, a Japanese national and a Dane, according to the Guardian. They were seized near Aleppo, Syria's largest city. Foreigners taken prisoner by the Islamic State are all journalists or aid workers captured near Aleppo or Idlib, and have been transferred to the Syrian city of Raqqa, which is under Islamic State control.

A former IS hostage told the British newspaper that Foley's suspected murderer, who appears in the IS video, was one of three Islamic State militants from the U.K. who guarded him when he was held in Raqqa. This man was in charge of negotiating the release of hostages and communicating with the families of captives via email, he told The Guardian.

Over the past six months, at least ten foreign hostages were freed by Islamic extremists in Syria after long negotiations and sometimes ransom demands. The ten included a Danish national, three French nationals and two Spaniards.