David Bolam, a British teacher held hostage by militants in Libya since May has been released, official sources said, as Prime Minister David Cameron instructed intelligence agencies to identify ISIS targets so that special forces could rescue remaining hostages.
The Foreign Office said that Bolam, who taught at the International School Benghazi, was "safe and well" and had been reunited with his family. His kidnapping had not been reported at the request of the Foreign Office and his family.
Facing intense pressure to act against ISIS following the release of a new video showing the killing of aid worker Alan Henning, Cameron is reported to be pressing intelligence agencies to identify targets that would allow SAS troops to stage a raid to rescue remaining hostages and bring in the kidnappers either dead or alive.
The Sunday Times quoted British sources as saying that a special forces team was already on standby in the region ready to act on any information leading to the jihadists. Cameron has said that ‘all assets’ of the government will be used to ‘hunt down’ Henning’s killers.
The Cameron government also came under pressure to take action against countries including Saudi Arabia and Qatar that are accused of funnelling money and training to ISIS and other extremist groups.
Lord Dannatt, former head of the British army, said that the government risked undermining the international coalition combating ISIS unless it took action to stop individuals in Gulf States sending cash to the militants.
“It is not acceptable, for example, to welcome large capital injections into prestige projects like the Shard in London while not exerting the strongest pressure on the Qatari government to crack down on some of their own citizens,” he said in an article for The Sunday Telegraph.
“Such potential hypocrisy runs the risk of undermining many of the other political and military actions being taken to discredit and destroy the caliphate ambitions of the jihadists.”
Henning’s widow, Barbara, said in a statement on Saturday that she was “numb with grief” at the murder, while Colin Livesey, her brother, said: “They could have done more when they knew months and months ago.”