El Shafee Elsheikh, a member of the “Beatles” cell of the terrorist group ISIS, was convicted earlier this week by an American court for abductions and deaths of four US nationals between 2012-15.
El Shafee was convicted on eight charges – four conspiracy charges for association with ISIS and four charges for hostage-taking that caused deaths of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and aid workers Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig.
A former ISIS member who testified in the court called El Shafee an important, high-ranking member of the terrorist group and “part of the ISIS aristocracy”.
Who were the Beatles and why were they named so?
The Beatles were a group of four ISIS terrorists, who were named after the British band because of their English accents. The four of them were – Aine Davis, Alexanda Kotey, El Shafee Elsheikh, and Mohammed Emwazi.
They were further nicknamed by their hostages as John, Paul, George and Ringo.
The four of them took hostages either for ranson or for release of ISIS members. They beheaded a total of 27 hostages, according to US officials.
They grew up in West London and joined ISIS to fight in Syria where they eventually ended up taking and killing Western hostages.
What’s the current status of the Beatles?
Mohammed Emwazi was dubbed Jihadi John as he appeared in a number of videos showing ISIS beheading prisoners throughout 2014. This garnered him worldwide notoriety.
Emwazi was killed in a drone strike in 2015.
Aine Davis, a convertee Muslim, radicalised Muslims in London with Emwazi. He left the UK to join ISIS in 2013. He is currently imprisoned in Turkey.
Alexanda Kotey, raised a Greek Orthodox Christian, converted to Islam as a teenager.
Kotey was captured along with El Shafee in 2018 by US-allied Syrian Kurds fighting ISIS and was brought to the United States in 2020 for trial. He pleaded guilty last year in a US court for multiple charges of murder of four US nationals.
Both Kotey and El Shafee face life imprisonment.
The Beatles were the face of ISIS brutality
The Beatles not just captured and executed people but also tortured them in captivity.
Emwazi, called Jihadi John, became a mascot of sorts for ISIS as he came on camera to behead the hostages. His clips were shared in shock and horror across the world, driving home the arrival of ISIS on the global terrorism stage.
American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who was under the Beatles’ captivity, is believed to have been raped by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before she was killed, according to US officials cited by Washington Examiner.
The US special forces team that eventually killed Baghdadi in 2019 dubbed their mission “Task Force 8-14” after Mueller’s date of birth – 14 August 1988.