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James Foley

Officials are exploring possible link between James Foley's abduction and 3 British citizens

There could be a connection between the November 2012 kidnapping of journalist James Foley and three British citizens who were alleged foreign fighters linked with ISIS, The Daily Beast's Josh Rogin and Eli Lake report.

It's unclear if the men were part of the cell that abducted Foley, but they were taken into custody in Britain just two weeks before Foley was picked up at an internet access spot. Shajul Islam, a doctor, was arrested and charged with the false imprisonment of two Western journalists, kidnapped in Syria in July 2012. His brother, Najul, and an associate, Jubayer Chowdury, were also charged. The case unraveled when the two journalists did not appear in court to testify, and all three were later released.

A U.S. intelligence official told The Daily Beast that British and U.S. counter-terrorism agencies are very interested in the men. "There is no official product on this yet for the intelligence community, but people who are out there and collecting on this believe the [Foley] abduction and the [Islam] trial are connected," the official said. A former hostage told The Guardian that the man seen executing Foley in the video released Tuesday was one of three U.K. citizens called the "Beatles" in charge of overseeing foreign hostages in Raqqa, Syria.

Read more about British militants and Foley's abduction at The Daily Beast.