The U.S. military has custody of two British prisoners accused of playing a role in an Islamic State cell that tortured and killed Western hostages, including American journalist James Foley, U.S. officials said.
El Shafee Elsheikh, 31, and Alexanda Kotey, 35, are two of four members of a British cell ISIS put in charge of Western hostages, The New York Times reported Wednesday. Their British accents led hostages to nickname the cell “the Beatles.” The cell’s victims included Foley, an American journalist beheaded as part of an ISIS propaganda video in 2014.
Mohammed Emwazi, another member of the group, likely killed Foley, The NYT reported. Emwazi died in a drone strike in 2015, The Washington Post reported. U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces captured Elsheikh and Kotey in 2018. The British cell is responsible for beheading at least 27 prisoners, the U.S. government says.