The Islamic State Beatles were arrested at London protests supporting the 9/11 terror attacks in 2011
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ISIS ‘Beatles’ Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh took part in a sick London celebration of the appalling September 11 terror attacks – but were still able to travel to Syria to wage Jihad.
The two men, now facing justice in the US over the terror cell, were detained at the American embassy in the UK capital in September 2011.
But somehow they were able to slip through the watch of authorities to travel to Syria to join ISIS.
The anniversary protests were held by Muslims Against Crusades, which was a group set up by jihadi recruiter Omar Bakri Mohammed.
It was attended by Anjem Choudhary and Siddhartha Dhar, who went on to be known as Jihadi Sid when he too went abroad to the terror group.
The extraordinary details were revealed in the US indictment against Kotey and Elsheikh after they appeared in court after being flown to America.
It spelled out both the pair’s arrests and the fact they were ‘radicalised in London’.
The two’s final transport to the US was welcomed by families of some of the ‘Beatles’ victims.
They face eight charges, including conspiracy to murder and hostage taking resulting in death, in connection with the killing of four American hostages in Syria and Iraq.
They are accused by the State Department of murdering two dozen hostages including Americans James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller, and at least eight other hostages from different countries, including the UK.
Mike Haines, whose brother David Haines – a British aid worker – was captured and beheaded in 2014 by the most prominent member of the ‘Beatles’ terrorist cell, ‘Jihadi John’, welcomed news of the charges.
He said: ‘The pain we experienced as families was excruciating when we lost our loved ones, and the last three years have been a long, horrible waiting game.
‘I, like the other families, am relieved that the fate of these two men is closer to being decided but this is just the beginning.’
Meanwhile, Diane Foley, mother of American victim James Foley, told Sky News tonight: ‘This is the first step in justice. At times, I despaired. Hopefully these men will implicate others and give us information about where the remains of our children are.’
Kotey and Elsheikh are expected to make their first federal court appearance in Alexandria, Virginia, after they arrive in the US.
They are currently being transported from Iraq where they have been in US custody since 2019.
The department states the two men carried out a gruesome campaign of torture, beheadings and other acts of violence against the Western hostages they had captured in Syria.
The indictment was announced Wednesday morning by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, as he confirmed that Kotey and Elsheikh would appear in court and be indicted by a federal grand jury.
‘They will be informed of the charges against them, they will be provided with counsel if they cannot afford it, they will receive medical care, and be housed in a sanitary facility and be provided with three meals a day,’ said U.S. Attorney Zachary Terwilliger.
‘All coupled with a due process of law – all things denied to James, Kayla, Steven and Peter and the other British, and Japanese victims named in the indictment.’
The indictment describes Kotey, ‘Jihadi Ringo’, and Elsheikh, ‘Jihadi George’, as ‘leading participants in a brutal hostage-taking scheme targeting American and European citizens’ from 2012 through 2015.
‘Today is a good day, but it is also a solemn day,’ Demers said at a press conference Wednesday morning.
Remembering the four American victims, he added, ‘we are here today because of them’.
‘Many around the world are familiar with the barbaric circumstances of their tragic deaths. But these precious souls will not be remembered for their deaths. They will be remembered for the good and decent lives they lived.’
The charges were welcomed by Attorney General Bill Barr who said it acted as a warning to other terrorists around the world.
‘If you harm Americans, you will face American arms on the battlefield or American law in our courtrooms,’ he said.
‘Either way, you will be pursued to the ends of the earth until justice is done.’
The indictment was also welcomed by the victims families in a statement Wednesday morning.
‘Kotey and ElSheikh’s extradition and trial in the United States will be the first step in the pursuit of justice for the alleged horrific human rights crimes against these four young Americans, who saw the suffering of the Syrian people and wanted to help, whether by providing humanitarian aid or by telling the world about the evolving Syrian crisis,’ they said.
‘We are hopeful that the U.S. government will finally be able to send the important message that if you harm Americans, you will never escape justice. And when you are caught, you will face the full power of American law.’
The accused claim they took part in torturing them and extracting information but that they did not take part in their executions.
The pair are both British but renounced their citizenship when they joined ISIS in Syria in 2014.
Foley and Sotloff were journalists working in the region and Kassig and Mueller were aid workers.
In interviews while in detention, the two men admitted that they helped collect email addresses from Mueller that could be used to send out ransom demands. She was killed in 2015 after 18 months in ISIS captivity.
The State Department, however, has said that Elsheikh and Kotey played a much more active role and it 2017, declared the pair specially designated global terrorists.
Specifically, the agency said Elsheikh ‘was said to have earned a reputation for waterboarding, mock executions, and crucifixions while serving as an ISIS jailer’.
Kotey, according to the State Department, acted as an Islamic State recruiter and ‘likely engaged in the group’s executions and exceptionally cruel torture methods, including electronic shock and waterboarding’.
In July 2014, the indictment states, Elsheikh described to a family member his participation in an Islamic State attack on the Syrian Army.
He sent the family member photos of decapitated heads and said in a voice message, ‘There´s many heads, this is just a couple that I took a photo of’.
Kotey and Elsheikh will face live in prison if found guilty.
According to ABC, the Justice Department has a perfect record of convictions prosecuting Islamist extremists in US district courts.
The total charges against them include conspiracy to commit hostage taking resulting in death; four counts of hostage taking resulting in death; conspiracy to murder US citizens outside of the US; conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists — hostage taking and murder — resulting in death and conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization resulting in death.
The expected court appearance Wednesday is a milestone in a years-long effort by US authorities to bring to justice members of a militant group known for beheadings and barbaric treatment of American aid workers, journalists and other hostages in Syria.
Their arrival in the U.S. to face charges sets the stage for arguably the most sensational terrorism prosecution since the 2014 case against the suspected ringleader of a deadly attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
Elsheikh and Kotey have been held in US military custody in Iraq since October 2019, but the families of their American victims have long pleaded for them to be brought onto US soil to stand trial.
British authorities were reluctant.
They eventually agreed to hand over evidence to the US that would help with a prosecution which was delivered two weeks ago.
AG Bill Barr has also agreed not to impose a death sentence on either man with the agreement of their victims’s families, who said they rather learn the truth of what happened to their loved ones through a trial.
The most prominent member of the ISIS Beatles was Mohammed Emwazi, the hooded executioner known as Jihadi John who was filmed slicing the necks of some of the victims in sickening videos that terrified the world in 2014 when ISIS spread them.
He was killed in a US drone strike in 2016. The fourth member is Aine Davis, ‘Jihadi Paul’. He is being held in a Turkish prison on terror charges.
The group earned their nickname as their hostages used the names of the different members of the Beatles to identify their British-sounding holders when they were able to communicate with each other.
Source: Daily Mail