One of the infamous ISIS “Beatles,” given the nickname due to their British nationality and accents, has been convicted of killing four Americans.
Three of the victims were beheaded during the executions which took place between 2012 and 2015.
El Shafee Elsheikh was charged over the deaths of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig. They were among 26 people known to have been taken hostage while ISIS controlled large portions of Iraq and Syria.
Foley was an American journalist reporting on the war in Syria when he was captured, held hostage, and beheaded in a horrific video that was posted on the internet in 2014.
Mueller was forced into slavery and repeatedly raped by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before her killing.
Elsheikh had been charged with four conspiracy charges relating to his work with ISIS and four charges of hostage taking resulting in the death of Americans. He was found guilty on all counts and is now facing a sentence of up to life in prison.
The so-called “Beatles” were notorious for being especially brutal, even among their terrorist peers.
“The three Beatles, Mohamed Emwazi, Alexanda Kotey and Elsheikh, would take hostages in order to demand the release of ISIS militants in prison or to collect ransom. Some hostages were released after large ransoms were paid, but others were executed by the group on camera for propaganda films,” CNN reports. “Kotey pleaded guilty in September and Emwazi, who prosecutors say was responsible for several of the beheadings of hostages, was killed in a drone strike in 2015.”
The prosecution explained that Kotey, Elsheikh, and Emwazi, who is best known as his nickname “Jihadi John,” grew up together in England before joining the terror organization.
“The evidence demonstrates that they grew up together, radicalized together, fought as high-ranking ISIS fighters together, held hostages together, tortured and terrorized hostages together,” prosecutor Raj Parekh said Wednesday. “What these horrific crimes left behind is a legacy of brutal killings and shattered families.”
Elsheikh has confessed to his role in the crimes to both interrogators and the media.
Last month, a Seattle man pleaded guilty to charges related to his attempt to travel to the Middle East and join ISIS.
Elvin Hunter Bgorn Williams, 21, was arrested on May 28, 2021, at a departure gate at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. He was intending to fly to Amsterdam and on to Egypt.
In a press release, the Department of Justice said, “Williams was arrested following a lengthy investigation into his efforts to join ISIS. According to his plea agreement, in November 2020, Williams began telling family members he was a member of ISIS. Williams posted a video on Facebook in which he swore an oath of loyalty to a leader of ISIS.”
Williams told informants that he would be willing to commit a terrorist attack in the US if he could not travel to the Middle East. He allegedly planned to target the city’s pride parade with a semi-truck.
“Using confidential sources close to Williams, the FBI monitored his activity and became aware of his efforts to travel to the Middle East and join ISIS. Williams expressed to his associates that if he could not travel overseas, he would commit an attack in the United States on behalf of ISIS. Williams began communicating with those he believed were ISIS recruiters who could get him to an ISIS terror cell in the Middle East or other parts of the world,” the press release continued.