Wednesday, 20 November, 2019

Isis Britons held hostage in Syria moved by the US

Beatles El Shafee el Sheikh and Alexanda Kotey
Patty Aguilar | 11 October, 2019, 16:36

The US has removed two British militants accused of beheading hostages for the so-called Islamic State (IS) group from Syria into American custody, according to a report.

The New York Times reports that the U.S. is planning to take Mr Elsheikh and Mr Kotey to Virginia, where they will be tested.

The British pair - part of a group of four British militants dubbed the "Beatles" by their hostages - were being detained with the goal of putting them on trial in the United States, said a senior USA official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter.

El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Amon Kotey were transferred to USA custody as Turkey invaded Syria to attack Kurds who have battling the Islamic State alongside American forces.

"Of the several hundreds out there, they are going to be some of the most battle hardened and considered the most risky", said Mr Hall, who was appointed the new reviewer of terrorism legislation in May.

However, he said this could put a severe strain on police and MI5 if hundreds of them were returned in "one batch".

In March, Kurdish and USA forces cleared the last members of the Islamic State group from what was left of their self-declared caliphate, which once sprawled across a large part of Iraq and Syria. "They are the worst of the worst".

Ex-MI6 Chief Sir John Sawers told BBC Radio 4 today that any UK-born Isis fighters "should be brought back to face British justice here".

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Diane Foley says she would like to see the men charged in the United States for their involvement with the Islamic State cell that killed Western hostages, including her son, James.

Emwazi - the supposed ringleader dubbed Jihadi John - was killed in a United States air strike in 2015, while Davis was convicted of being a member of a terrorist organisation and jailed for seven-and-a-half years at a court in Silivri, Turkey, in 2017.

The Kurds, who helped defeat the terror group in Syria and were key USA allies in that fight, guard thousands of IS fighters and their relatives in prisons and camps in areas under their control.

It is thought that under the offensive, some Islamic State prisoners could escape as they were being held by Kurd fighters, who are trying to repel Turkish attacks.

Up to 50 high-level prisoners are thought to have been transferred to the Americans, along with the "Beatles".

Emwazi is thought to have killed United States journalist James Foley in 2014.

The Justice Department said it will try Elsheikh and Kotey in federal court in Virginia.

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