The Islamic State group responsible for the mass beheadings of journalists and aid workers has finally been brought to justice, with confirmation that the last two of its British-bred foreign fighters have been captured.
The last two British members of the notorious Islamic State (IS) terrorist cell ‘The Beatles’, were caught and detained by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in eastern Syria in January, US officials have now confirmed.
London-bred foreign fighters Alexanda Kotey (34) and El Shafee Elsheikh (29) were the final two Beatles to be captured or killed, with Aine Davis jailed in Turkey earlier this year and the group’s ringleader Mohammed Emwazi, aka Jihadi John, killed in a drone strike in 2015.
The group, which was named after John Lennon and co because of the members’ British accents, was responsible for beheading journalists and aid workers, and posting the videos of the gruesome executions on the internet.
As part of its terrorist designation for Kotey, the US State Department said the quartet was responsible for the execution of at least 24 hostages, and the torture of many more.
“The notorious cell, dubbed ‘The Beatles’ and once headed by now-deceased SDGT Mohamed Emwazi (also known as Jihadi John), is responsible for holding captive and beheading approximately two dozen hostages, including several Westerners,” it said in a statement released last year.
“As a guard for the cell, Kotey likely engaged in the group’s executions and exceptionally cruel torture methods, including electronic shock and waterboarding. Kotey has also acted as an ISIL recruiter and is responsible for recruiting several UK nationals to join the terrorist organisation.”
According to the State Department, Elsheikh “earned a reputation for waterboarding, mock executions, and crucifixions” while serving as the cell’s guard.
US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, and British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, were among those slain by The Beatles, and it is understood more than 20 foreigners were held captive by the group during the 2014-2015 period.
News of their capture was controversially broken by the New York Times, which released the details despite American officials wanting more time “to allow analysts more time to pursue the intelligence leads developed from their detention and prepare raids against unsuspecting Islamic State targets”.