Islamic State ‘Beatles’ charged in gruesome killings of American, other hostages

By Eric Tucker and Matthew Barakat |

British-born suspects appear in US court to face charges over campaign of torture, beheadings of victims in Syria including American-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Islamic State terrorists from Britain were brought to the United States on Wednesday to face charges in a gruesome campaign of torture, beheadings and other acts of violence against four Americans and others captured and held hostage in Syria.

El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey are two of four men who were dubbed “the Beatles” by the hostages because of the captors’ British accents. The two men made their first appearance Wednesday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, where a federal grand jury issued an eight-count indictment that accuses them of being “leading participants in a brutal hostage-taking scheme” that resulted in the deaths of Western hostages, including American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

Sotloff, who was Jewish and grew up in Miami, published articles from Syria, Egypt and Libya in various publications, including Time, the World Affairs Journal and Foreign Policy. He had deep roots in Israel, and held Israeli citizenship.

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