Şimal Çınar –TDO- U.S. officials reported on Thursday that two Islamic State militants with British origins who are known for the torture and killings of Western hostages were captured by Syrian Kurdish fighters. The men were the last of a group of four militants known as the “Beatles,” for their English accents.
The militants were identified as Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh. The U.S. 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.” Kotey had also acted as a recruiter and was responsible for recruiting several British nationals to join the militant group, the State Department said. The State Department sanctioned Elsheikh in March 2017, saying he was “said to have earned a reputation for waterboarding, mock executions, and crucifixions while serving as an ISIS jailer.”
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 added the militants could be intentionally providing incorrect information or were not up to date on the latest information.
Kotey was born in London and is of Ghanaian and Greek Cypriot background, while Elsheikh’s family fled Sudan in the 1990s. Both men have been designated foreign terrorists by the United States. Kotey who is 34 and Elsheikh who is 29, were detained by the American-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led militia, which is fighting the last pockets of Islamic State insurgents in Syrian towns and villages along the Euphrates River south to the border with Iraq. American officials were informed in mid-January that the militia might have captured the men. The Americans confirmed their identities using fingerprints and other biometric measurements.