The last two members of an Islamic State cell known for executing and torturing Western hostages were captured by Syrian Kurdish fighters, U.S. officials said Thursday. The four-man cell was called "The Beatles" by their victims because of their British accents.
The Syrian Democratic Forces are trying to track down ISIS fighters who remain in the country, and they apprehended Alexanda Kotey, 34, and El Shafee Elsheikh, 29, in mid-January, BBC News reports. Their identities were confirmed using fingerprints and other biometric data. The alleged leader of the cell, Mohammed Emwazi (dubbed "Jihadi John"), appeared in several videos showing the beheadings of hostages; he was killed in a 2015 drone strike in Syria. The fourth member, Aine Davis, was convicted of being a senior ISIS member and jailed in Turkey last year.
All of the men are from London, and their victims included American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, and American aid worker Peter Kassig. U.S. officials say Kotey tortured hostages and was an ISIS recruiter, while Elsheikh was the cell's guard and "earned a reputation for waterboarding, mock executions, and crucifixions."
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