Two British Islamic State militants celebrated for their role in the torture and killings of Western hostages were captured by Syrian Kurdish fighters on Thursday, according to US officials.
Sources reveal, the men were part of a group of four militants known as ‘The Beatles’ for their British accents and have been named as Alexanda Kotey, 34, and El Shafee Elsheikh, 29.
A separate U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had captured the two in early January in eastern Syria.
Colonel John Thomas, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said U.S. forces had assisted in identifying the militants and were interrogating them.
“We are looking to exploit real-time intelligence. But so far nothing of a grand nature has been obtained,” Thomas said.
He said the militants could be intentionally providing incorrect information or were not up to date on the latest information, so a thorough analysis was underway.
A U.S.-led coalition has pushed Islamic State out of most of the territory it controlled in Iraq and Syria, but its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who proclaimed the self-styled caliphate in 2014, remains at large.
The black sheep of the ‘Beatles’ was Jihadi John – aka Mohammed Emwazi -who decapitated a number of hostages in IS propaganda videos.
He was killed in an airstrike in 2015.
Reports say, 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.”
Kotey had also acted as a recruiter and was responsible for recruiting several British nationals to join the militant group, reports Reuters.
In March 2017, the State Department sanctioned Elsheikh, saying he was “said to have earned a reputation for waterboarding, mock executions, and crucifixions while serving as an ISIS jailer.”
Among the four the man with the black mind was Mohammed Emwazi, known as “Jihadi John,” an executioner of hostages made famous by Islamic State videos of beheadings.
A US-British missile strike believed to have killed Emwazi, a British citizen of Arab origin, was months in preparation but came together at lightning speed in 2015 in the Syrian town of Raqqa, according to U.S. officials.
After many consequences, Emwazi became stand in identity of Islamic State and a symbol of its brutality after appearing in videos showing the murders of U.S. journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, U.S. aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto and other hostages.
Image Source: AFP PHOTO / France2 / Dominique DERDA