A FRIEND of hostage Alan Henning who travelled with him to Syria said the aid worker was captured by Islamic State (IS) jihadists because they thought he was a spy.

Yasir Amir has now pleaded with the militant terrorist group — who have already killed journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines — to release his friend.

Mr Amir, who left the Bolton convoy in December as it reached the Turkey-Syria border, said he understands Mr Henning and other volunteers were rounded up near a school building.

He said a group of masked men surrounded them and conducted a passport check before taking away Mr Henning.

Some of the convoy stayed in Syria trying to rescue Mr Henning for two weeks, according to Mr Amir.

Mr Amir, who lives in Great Lever, said: “Nobody knows where Alan is being held.

“They were at this compound about half an hour after going through the border and then these masked men stopped them, and started asking questions and looking at passports.

“They were questioning everybody but when they got to Alan they took him as they thought he was a spy.

“He had a new passport with a chip in it as his passport was new and they were suspicious because of that.”

Mr Amir, who had to leave the trip early for work, said he and Mr Henning had been on a previous aid mission together in Syria.

He said: “I would say to IS, please, please, please let him go. Even my kids are praying for Alan every night.

“He is not a spy, he has not gone to harm you but to help people in need. Please let him come back to his family.”

A prayer vigil was held for Mr Henning at St Matthew’s Church in Little Lever on Thursday Another video has now been released showing a third British hostage, photo journalist John Cantlie.

The footage shows the photographer in an orange jumpsuit sitting at a desk and reading from a prepared script.

Mr Cantlie said he was a prisoner and his "fate now lies in the hands of Islamic State".