PABritish members of an Isis group nicknamed'The Beatles have been captured
09 February, 2018, 08:46
Elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-dominated group that is the United States' main military partner in Syria, captured the two men, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey, in early January in eastern Syria, two US officials said.
Mohammed Emwazi, also known as "Jihadi John", appears unmasked in ISIS photos.
The group, nicknamed the Beatles, became known for filming and publicizing their executions of British and USA aid workers and journalists in Syria.
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British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines, and American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff were among their suspected victims - beheaded in brutal videos released on the internet.
Unnamed US officials said they were been identified by "fingerprints and other biometric means" and that they were captured near the Euphrates river on the Iraqi and Syrian border by members of the US-backed Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia who were mopping up the last pockets of Isis resistance in the area.
"The two are believed to have acted as guards and interpreters involved in ISIS" illegal captivity of Western hostages, and are thought to have links to the British terrorist often called "Jihadi John", the official said in a statement.
Emwazi was killed in a USA drone strike in 2015, while a fourth member of the cell, Aine Davis, was detained in Turkey.
According to United States officials, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh were detained last month.
A senior US official confirmed that part of the interrogation of Kotey and Elsheikh is aimed at finding the remains of Western hostages, particularly Americans, who were killed during their ISIS captivity. He was killed in a drone strike in Raqqa 2015. The prisoners have been questioned by USA officials.
Davis is imprisoned in Turkey on terrorism offences.
The aim was "to allow analysts more time to pursue the intelligence leads developed from their detention and prepare raids against unsuspecting Islamic State targets", the newspaper said. The U.S. designated both men as foreign terrorists, and sanctioned Kotey in 2017.
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