British jihadi 'Beatles' held by Syrian fighters

10 February, 2018, 06:46 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Mohammed Emwazi who was killed in a US air strike in 2015 appeared in a number of videos in which captives including British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning were beheaded

Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, part of a group of four ISIS jihadists known as the "Beatles" due to their British accents, were detained in mid-January by the USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), American officials told The New York Times on February 8.

French journalist Nicolas Henin was held hostage by Islamic State for 10 months and believes "The Beatles" were among his captors.

The daughter of a British hostage murdered by the notorious Islamic State group kidnapping cell nicknamed "The Beatles" called Friday for the last two members, now captured, to face justice. "One of them is Alexanda Kotey", Redur Khalil, a spokesman and senior official in the SDF, told AFP in the northeastern town of Amuda.

Despite the fact the cell murdered two Britons - Mr Haines and fellow aid worker Alan Henning, the security source said it was "pretty unlikely" the men would be brought to the UK.

It remains unclear exactly when Kotey and Elsheikh were captured, but American officials were informed in mid-January that the duo might have been detained by the SDF. "Their crimes are beyond imagination", she told BBC radio.

United States officials believe the "execution cell" beheaded more than 27 Western hostages and tortured many more.

Along with Mohammed Emwazi - the killer nicknamed Jihadi John - and Aine Davis, they are thought to have been part of the group named after the famous '60s band due to their English accents.

The SDF a year ago turned over another English-speaking IS captive to the U.S. forces.

US officials did not provide any other details of the capture, but said the USA government works closely with its coalition partners on the disposition of detainees held by the SDF.


Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson told The Times: "These are people who have done absolutely vile and despicable crimes and brought absolutely so much misery".

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

The US Justice Department says they have considered transferring him to a third country - presumably Saudi Arabia - while US civil rights lawyers are battling to have his case transferred to US civilian courts.

"It is good that they have been hunted down and caught". Haines said she wanted to "look them in the eye and let them know I am who I am and they have certainly destroyed a big part of my life".

US officials have interrogated the men, who were part of the IS cell that captured, tortured and beheaded more than two dozen hostages, including American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and American aid worker Peter Kassig.

Tobias Ellwood, a British defence minister, said yesterday the pair should face an worldwide war crimes tribunal and not be sent to Guantanamo Bay as some have speculated will occur.

But the broadsheet reported London would not hinder any moves to extradite the pair to the USA and there was little desire among ministers to repatriate them to Britain.

He said that so far the future of the detainees is undetermined and it's not clear what the process will be for bringing them to justice.

"What I'm looking for is justice and Guantanamo is a denial of justice", he told The Associated Press on Friday.

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