Two British Islamic State militants known for their role in the torture and killing of Western hostages have been captured by Syrian Kurdish fighters, according to US officials.
The men were part of a group of four militants known as ‘The Beatles’ for their British accents and have been named as Alexanda Kotey, 34, and El Shafee Elsheikh, 29, reports the New York Times.
Both have already been stripped of their UK citizenship.
The most infamous of the ‘Beatles’ was Jihadi John - aka Mohammed Emwazi -who decapitated a number of hostages in IS propaganda videos.
He was killed in an airstrike in 2015.
The US State Department sanctioned Kotey in January 2017, saying he was a guard for the “Beatles” and “likely engaged in the group’s executions and exceptionally cruel torture methods, including electronic shock and waterboarding.”
Kotey had also acted as a recruiter and was responsible for recruiting several British nationals to join the militant group, reports Reuters.
In March 2017, the State Department sanctioned Elsheikh, saying he was “said to have earned a reputation for waterboarding, mock executions, and crucifixions while serving as an ISIS jailer.”
The most notorious of the four was Mohammed Emwazi, known as “Jihadi John,” an executioner of hostages made famous by Islamic State videos of beheadings.
A US-British missile strike believed to have killed Emwazi, a British citizen of Arab origin, was months in preparation but came together at lightning speed in 2015 in the Syrian town of Raqqa, according to U.S. officials.
Emwazi became the public face of Islamic State and a symbol of its brutality after appearing in videos showing the murders of U.S. journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, U.S. aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto and other hostages.
In December the newly-installed UK Defence Secretary said Britons who have travelled abroad to fight for the so-called Islamic State should be “eliminated” and not allowed to return home.
Gavin Williamson said: “A dead terrorist can’t cause any harm to Britain.
He told the Daily Mail: “I do not believe that any terrorist, whether they come from this country or any other, should ever be allowed back to this country.
“We should do everything we can do to destroy and eliminate that threat.”