Briton from IS 'Beatles' gang caught

Katrina Barker
February 10, 2018

Relatives of some of those murdered by the quartet of Londoners known as the "Beatles" due to their British accents called for Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh to face justice after the pair were caught by Syrian Kurdish forces last month amid the disintegration of IS. In videos released by Islamic State (IS), the masked, black-clad militant brandishing a knife and speaking with an English accent appears to have carried out the beheadings of hostages including Americans and Britons.

Kurdish fighters in the US -backed Syrian Democratic Forces have captured the last two members of a notorious Islamic State cell known for carrying out brutal torture and executions of Western prisoners, USA officials said Thursday.

Meanwhile a U.S. defence official announced on Thursday that fellow Briton El Shafee el-Sheikh, another "Beatles" member, had also been captured by Syrian rebel forces. And he characterized their capture as "certainly a big deal for America" as well as the families of the people the two men killed.

The cell was believed to be behind the killing of American journalist James Foley and numerous Western aid workers.

In an Associated Press report, Air Force Col. John Thomas, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said American officials have been able to interrogate the two detainees.

The capture of Elsheikh and Kotey could yield precious intelligence about what happened to those fighters as IS was defeated on the battlefield, and information about the fate of their hostages, said Shiraz Maher, a senior research fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence at King's College London. "Their crimes are beyond imagination", she told BBC radio.

"The two are believed to have acted as guards and interpreters involved in ISIS" illegal captivity of Western hostages, and are thought to have links to the British terrorist often called "Jihadi John'", the official said in a statement.

Along with Mohammed Emwazi - the killer nicknamed Jihadi John - and Aine Davis, they are thought to have been part of a group named after the '60s band due to their English accents. Both men previously lived in London, and are considered foreign terrorists by the US State Department.

United States officials have pledged to hold the terrorists accountable, with a Defence Department spokesman adding that they were "still considering options" for what to do with the pair.

One former hostage has said the pair should be brought before a British court, while the mother of murdered USA journalist James Foley said she would like to see them face justice in the United States.

"The Beatles", the State Department said, "is responsible for holding captive and beheading approximately two dozen hostages, including several Westerners". "They really have not done anything good in the world, so I think they need to spend the rest of their life being held".

Despite pleas to bring the jihadi butchers home to face British justice, Gavin Williamson said: "I don't think they should ever set foot in this country again".

"This is the beginning of a process that will bring them eventually, hopefully, to a trial. What I want is a trial and a trial potentially that I can attend, so rather, a trial in London rather than one in Kobani in northern Syria".

"Guantanamo is a denial of justice".

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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