Published: Sat, February 10, 2018

Last 2 Members of Daesh 'Beatles' Execution Cell Captured in Syria

Last 2 Members of Daesh 'Beatles' Execution Cell Captured in Syria

An official with the main Kurdish force in Syria says USA -backed fighters have captured a British extremist last month trying to flee to Turkey.

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.

The group, nicknamed the Beatles, became known for filming and publicizing their executions of British and US aid workers and journalists in Syria.

The US State Department has already imposed sanctions on both men.

Kotey also acted as an IS recruiter and was responsible for recruiting several other British nationals to join the organisation.

In Syria, Elsheikh gained a reputation for using waterboarding, mock executions and crucifixion as to torture captives.

Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, believed to have been part of Islamic State's brutal executions gang, were detained by US-allied Kurdish militia fighters in January, the New York Times (NYT) said.

Emwazi - described by IS as an "honourable brother" - appeared in a string of IS videos showing the execution of foreign hostages, starting with the beheading of American James Foley in August 2014.

Before that he had been a member of al Qaeda, joining after travelling to Syria in 2012.


United States officials said the "execution cell" had beheaded at least 27 Western hostages and tortured many more. "The Telegraph" past year reported that the two missing men were on a USA "kill list" reserved for senior Isil terrorists. "But realistically that's not going to happen", she said.

The American-backed Syrian Democratic Forces captured the two men last month, and the US helped identify them with biometric data and other tools.

The killer was unmasked as Mohammed Emwazi in 2015 - as the world's most wanted man was revealed to be a computer programming graduate who grew up in Queen's Park, North West London. Aine Davis, the fourth member, was detained in Turkey in 2015 and convicted on terror charges past year.

Kotey and Elsheikh were the last two still at large.

Bethany Haines - whose father David, a British aid worker, was beheaded by the cell. The Times report indicated the two men were not yet in U.S. military custody and the USA justice department did not immediately respond to questions over whether they would seek to prosecute the men in federal court.

USA officials sought to keep their capture under the radar to give more time to prepare raids against ISIS targets and follow-up on intelligence leads.

"These diplomatic discussions are private and we have nothing additional to provide".

The series of gruesome beheadings that started with Foley in 2014 rocked the Obama administration, which had been accused by the victims' families of failing to do enough to save their loved ones.

Two US officials also confirmed the capture to Reuters.

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