Two members of notorious ISIS death squad known as 'the Beatles' captured in Syria

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. The group was known for torture and execution, including the beheading of western hostages. Yesterday, it was revealed that two of the four members of the group, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Amon Kotey, were captured in Syria last month. From the BBC:


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

US officials believe the “execution cell” beheaded more than 27 Western hostages and tortured many more.

Each was known to their hostages by their respective Beatles moniker – Paul, Ringo, John and George.

The Associated Press notes that the group is believed to have beheaded several American hostages:

The two men are among four members of the IS cell that captured, tortured and beheaded more than two dozen hostages including American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and American aid worker Peter Kassig…

Sotloff was kidnapped in August 2013 after crossing into Syria from Turkey. He was killed on Sept. 2, 2014, and a video was distributed around the world documenting his death. Foley, another American journalist, had been killed a month earlier by the Islamic State. Kassig was an American aid worker captured by Islamic State militants in 2013 while delivering relief supplies to refugees in Syria.

There is some question about what will happen with Elsheikh and Kotey. U.S. authorities have not said whether they will be sent to Gitmo. Today, there were calls to have them tried in the UK:

French journalist Nicolas Henin, who was held by the men and their comrades for 10 months, said he wants justice following the arrest of the two Britons, who were part of the notorious cell dubbed “The Beatles.” Henin said the men should be tried in the U.K., not shipped to Guantanamo Bay, because revenge will just breed more violence…

The capture of Elsheikh and Kotey could yield precious intelligence about what happened to those fighters as IS was defeated on the battlefield, and information about the fate of their hostages, said Shiraz Maher, a senior research fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence at King’s College London…

Maher agreed that Elsheikh and Kotey should be brought to trial because it will help bring closure to their victims and send a message to anyone who considers joining IS or other extremist groups.

“These guys had an absolute sense of their own invincibility,” he said. “They were filled with euphoria. (Trials) will make people think twice.”


The other two members of the terror group known as the Beatles were Mohammed Emwazi aka Jihadi John, who was killed in a US airstrike in 2015, and Aine Davis who was captured in 2015 and convicted of terrorism charges in Turkey last year. This CBS clip from 2014 features a mention of ‘the Beatles.’

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