Homs (Syria): Jacques Murad, the Catholic priest abducted in central Syria this week was seized by jihadis linked to the Islamic State militant group, according to sources quoted by the Syrian pro-government radio station Sham Fm.

Catholic news agency Fides reported on Friday that Murad, the prior of the Mar Elian Monastery on the outskirts of Qaryatayn in central Syria, was most likely kidnapped on Monday.

Murad was seized by two armed men aboard motorbikes, who arrived at the monastery, forced him into his car and drove off with him.

Qaryatayn is around 60 kms southwest of the city of Homs, where the archdiocese confirmed Murad’s kidnapping.

The archdiocese of Homs did not confirm that deacon Boutros Hanna was abducted with Murad, which was claimed by some reports, according to Fides.

Murad is from the same order as Italian priest Paolo Dall’Oglio, of whom there has been no trace since he was abducted on July 29, 2013, in the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria.

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