A filmmaker, who was involved in the early negotiations to free Alan Henning, has told Sky News how even al Qaeda thought holding him hostage was “not a good idea”.
The terrorist group sent a member to bargain with the Islamic State fighters holding him but failed to secure his release. The al Qaeda member, who was sent to bargain with the Manchester taxi driver’s captors, said the jihadists were “difficult” and “tough”. Bilal Abdul Kareem told how Mr Henning, who was helping to make an aid delivery in Syria, was captured just an hour after arriving in al-Dana, around 30 minutes from the Turkish border, on Boxing Day.
He said Islamic State fighters had arrived in the town and detained all of those in the convoy but quickly released the Muslim members, holding only Mr Henning. Mr Kareem said when Mr Henning was first taken he was set to be released later that day or even the next but when that did not happen people started to worry.
Then the jihadists claimed the 47-year-old, father-of-two as their prisoner and said they were planning to exchange him for people in British custody.
Mr Kareem said: “They had a course of action that they were going to take and nobody was going to be able to talk them out of it. “Even al Qaeda affiliates al Nusra went there to talk to them because nobody outside of ISIS thought this was a good idea, nobody thought that it was OK to do this, none of the other groups were doing that, nobody thought it was a good idea.
“When the al Qaeda representative went to go down and try to talk to them he returned, his face was different, he said something to the effect these guys are really being difficult, really being tough but they did say that they were going to release him.
“Everybody was anticipating that but that never happened.”