Two British ISIS 'Beatles' fighters captured in Syria

2018-02-09 14:57
In this photo, family members bury their relative in a graveyard in Mosul after his body was exhumed hours earlier. (Bram Janssen, AP, file)

In this photo, family members bury their relative in a graveyard in Mosul after his body was exhumed hours earlier. (Bram Janssen, AP, file)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - Two British Islamic State fighters, members of a kidnapping cell dubbed "The Beatles" that was notorious for videotaping beheadings, have been captured in Syria, a US defence official confirmed on Thursday.

The two members of the group who had still been in the field, Alexanda Amon Kotey and El Shafee el-Sheikh, both from Britain, were captured in January in eastern Syria by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

The pair is believed to have "participated in the detention, exploitation and execution of Western detainees", the official said in a statement.

The two were also "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 2017, the US State Department said the London-born Kotey had "likely" taken part in executions and used "exceptionally cruel torture methods, including electric shock and waterboarding", while guarding the group's captives.


Among the other two members of the "Beatles" group, Mohammed Emwazi - "Jihadi John" - was killed in 2015 in a drone strike by the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group.

The fourth member of the gang, Aine Davis, is being held in Turkey.

Emwazi was the group's leader, gaining notoriety for using a knife to kill hostages in a string of beheadings that were videotaped and posted on the internet, generating outrage against the ISIS group but also inspiring similar acts by the extremists.

His victims included US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, and British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning.

Overall, the group handled more than 20 foreign hostages during the 2014 - 2015 period, earning a reported millions of dollars in ransom payments.

READ Al-Qaeda still going strong as ISIS crumbles: UN report

Hostages who survived reported being beaten, shocked by Tasers, and undergoing waterboardings at the hands of the group.

It was the hostages who gave them their nickname "The Beatles," after the legendary rock group, for their British accents.

The US official did not give any information on the condition of the two or what would happen to them.

"El-Shafee el-Sheikh and Kotey represent a small portion of the hundreds of foreign-born ISIS terrorists from several nations who have been taken off the battlefield by Syrian Democratic Forces in eastern Syria since October 2017," the official said, requesting anonymity.

The British foreign ministry declined to confirm the capture.

"We don't comment on individual cases or ongoing investigations," a spokesperson said.

US President Donald Trump has said that Islamist fighters captured on the battlefield in Syria and Iraq, including Americans, could be sent to the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Last week he reversed an order by his predecessor Barack Obama to close the Guantanamo prison, which still holds 41 people.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    isis  |  syria  |  syria conflict

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.