Member of notorious jihadi ‘Beatles’ cell convicted in US — Analysis

El Shafee Elsheikh is part of the group which kidnapped, beheaded and tortured foreigners in Syria

On Thursday, El Shafee Elsheikh was found guilty by a jury in Alexandria, Virginia of belonging to the Islamic State (formerly ISIS), cell that captured foreigners being abducted and killed on video. The group Elsheikh belonged to was dubbed ‘the Beatles’ by the hostages for their British accents. Elsheikh is now facing a lifetime sentence. 

The jihadists’ crimes took place between 2014 and 2015, when IS conquered large swathes of eastern Syria and northern Iraq. 

Prosecutors allege that Elsheikh is responsible for the torturing and death of American journalists James Foley & Steven Sotloff as well as aid workers Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig. The group’s other victims included British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, and Japanese journalists Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto. Extremists released videos showing the execution of the men. 

David Haines’ brother Mike described the conviction of Elsheikh as a “triumph for society over the ills of terrorism and extremism.”

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Elsheikh was born and raised in Sudan. He spent the majority of his adult life in Britain before moving to Syria to join IS. The US-backed Kurdish forces captured him in 2018. Elsheikh was released by the US-backed Kurdish forces in 2018. Another member of ‘the Beatles,’ Alexanda Kotey, pleaded guilty to the same charges as Elsheikh last year and also faces life in prison.



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