Two British jihadists accused of being ISIS murderers have challenged Britain to prove they are part of ‘The Beatles’ terror group.
Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, from west London, have questioned how hostages could identify them as part of the group which is accused of beheading 27 people in Iraq and Syria.
Kotey told the Times: ‘I find it very strange that people who described being held by “masked men”, as soon as the capture of myself and Shafee was announced, say how glad they are that the people that were responsible… have been caught.’
Kotey and Elsheikh are two of four fanatics dubbed ‘The Beatles’, because of their British accents, whose leader ‘Jihadi John’ heinously beheaded hostages on camera.
Alexanda Kotey (left) and El Shafee Elsheikh, from west London, are two of four fanatics dubbed ‘The Beatles’, because of their British accents
The pair have challenged Britain to prove they are part of the terrorist cell. They have questioned how hostages could identify them as part of the group which is accused of beheading 27 people in Iraq and Syria (Pictured: left, Kotey, right, Elsheikh)
Both had their citizenship revoked earlier this year as a way of deterring other jihadists from travelling to Syria, and the government has said they do not want to try them in Britain.
‘Europe has refused to take their fighters back, the US too. They seem to prefer this ball of fire to remain in our hands,’ Abdulqarim Omar, head of the Kurdish administration’s foreign affairs council in northern Syria, told the Times.
‘We are holding over 400 Isis foreign fighters from 40 different countries. Including their families they number thousands. We do not have the resources to start their trials here.’
Their leader, known as ‘Jihadi John’ heinously, beheaded hostages on camera
Kotey and Elsheikh were captured by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) earlier this year, and are now being held in a detention facility in Kobani.
Because their citizenship has been revoked, British intelligence officers have been stopped from interrogating them.
Kotey, known as ‘Ringo’, said: ‘We have only been interrogated by Americans from the Department of Defence and the FBI, and by Kurdish intelligence. The British have never been present.’
It is unclear where they will face justice for their involvement in the terrorist cell who tortured and beheaded at least five British and American captives in 2014.
They will most likely be tried in a US court, but last month the British government said they wanted reassurances prosecutors will not seek the death penalty.
The SDF have already traded ISIS commanders in exchange for fighters because they do not have the facilities to try them in Syria.
Elsheikh, or ‘George’, said: ‘I am not sitting here with a hat for a handout, asking anybody in the West for anything.
‘I am saying your government, your legal system, claims something. It’s down to them to do what they claim, otherwise the whole system is a shambles and everyone who claims to stand by it is a bunch of hypocrites.’
Kotey added: ‘I get the impression that a lot of people in the British government and probably the American administration would have preferred that they had killed us so that they could avoid this whole procedure.
Kotey said: ‘I get the impression that a lot of people in the British government and probably the American administration would have preferred that they had killed us so that they could avoid this whole procedure.
‘Their biggest regret is that we wasn’t killed in Deir Ezzor or elsewhere, because now they have the tedious task of putting this into the context of a judicial case.
‘But when you are actually talking in a legal framework, now you actually have to bring proof, something — hard evidence to back these claims against us.’
Kotey is suspected of masterminding a foiled terror plot to execute British police officers and soldiers across London while he was some 3,000 miles away in Syria.
An ITV News investigation earlier this month discovered Kotey encouraged a planned spate of attacks in Shepherds Bush, West London, in 2014.
Kotey was in regular communication with medical student Tarik Hassane, a friend back home in London, who was jailed at the Old Bailey in 2016 for his part in the plot.
He encouraged Hassane to commit drive-by killings from the back of a moped.
Last year, Kotey was named a ‘specially designated global terrorist’ by US authorities after his identity was revealed by ITV News.
Officials in Washington DC said: ‘As a guard for the cell, Kotey likely engaged in the group’s executions and exceptionally cruel torture methods, including electronic shock and waterboarding.’