Last of British IS 'Beatles' gang captured by Kurds

Violet Powell
February 10, 2018

An ISIS death squad became known as "the Beatles" among the people they held hostage because all four members had grown up in London before becoming radicalized and joining ISIS.

Today the New York Times reported that Kotey and Elsheikh have been detained by the Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led militia fighting ISIS insurgents.

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

American forces used fingerprint checks and biometric measurements to confirm Kotey and Elsheikh's identities, according to the Times.

Kotey and Elsheikh were known associates of Jihadi John who was killed in a United States airstrike in Syria in 2015.

The fourth "Beatle" was London-born Aine Davis.

Bethany Haines, whose father David, a British aid worker, was one of at least 27 hostages beheaded by the cell, said that she wanted the men to "die a long, slow, painful death" but accepted they should instead be put on trial.

But French journalist Nicolas Henin, who was kidnapped and held by Islamic State for 10 months, demanded the men be brought to justice in the UK.

U.S. officials said the Beatles execution cell beheaded at least 27 hostages and tortured many more.

A fourth member of the so-called "Beatles", Aine Davis, is now imprisoned in Turkey on terrorism charges.

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His younger brother, Mahmoud, followed him to the war zone and was killed fighting for Daesh in Iraq past year.

Kotey, who is half Ghanaian, half Greek Cypriot, grew up in a family of dress cutters in Shepherd's Bush - just under two miles away from Emwazi - and was an avid supporter of Queens Park Rangers Football Club.

His mother Maya Elgizouli said Elsheikh was the middle son of three raised alone by her after the family moved to Britain.

The group of four British men were radicalised in the United Kingdom before travelling to Syria, where they became infamous for their high-profile executions of Western hostages.

The US State Department sanctioned Kotey in January 2017, saying he was a guard for the "Beatles" and "likely engaged in the group's executions and exceptionally cruel torture methods, including electronic shock and waterboarding".

The state department says Kotey was also responsible for recruiting several British nationals to fight for Islamic State, also known as Isis.

Emwazi, the ringleader, was killed in a drone attack in Syria in 2015.

However, the presence of large numbers of Kurdish armed forces in northern Syria has alarmed neighbouring Turkey.

By effectively washing its hands of the two men, Britain has left the way open for America, which is thought to already have the pair in custody in a U.S. special forces facility in adjoining Iraq, to decide on the manner of their disposal.

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