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British ISIS  reveal masterminds behind European terror attacks’

Feb 9, 2022 | Studies & Reports

European Centre for Counterterrorism and Intelligence Studies, Germany & Netherlands – ECCI

British ISIS Beatles ‘turn supergrass and reveal masterminds behind European terror attacks’ ahead of US trial

  • Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh are said to have given up the information
  • French publication Mediapart’s report is based of leaked US intelligence
  • Both men named Abu Lôqman as the man who ordered the taking of hostages
  • They also confirmed the identity of Abu Ahmed al-Iraqi as being Oussama Atar
  • Atar is on trial in France in-absentia, accused of being the mastermind behind the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015 and Brussels in 2016

Dailymail – Two of the British ISIS ‘Beatles‘ reportedly turned supergrass and revealed the masterminds behind European terror attacks while awaiting trial in the United States.Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh are said to have given up the information to US secret service interrogators after their 2018 capture in Syria. They also revealed details of who ordered the kidnap and torture of Western hostages, according to French publication Mediapart.According to both men, Abu Lôqman – the head of Islamic State’s secret service – was in charge of the capture, imprisonment and torture of hostages.

The pair of British ISIS fighters both reported to third ‘Beatle’ Mohammed Emwazi, aka Jihadi John, who himself reported to emir Abu Ahmed al-Iraqi.According to the French report, Kotey (aka Ringo) and Elsheikh (aka George) also confirmed the real identity of Abu Ahmed al-Iraqi as Oussama Atar.Atar is currently on trial in France in-absentia believed to have masterminded terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris.The Belgo-Moroccan, who is thought to have been killed by an airstrike in Syria in 2017, is accused of plotting the attacks of November 13, 2015 in Paris – including the deadly attack on the Bataclan nightclub – and those of March 22, 2016 in Brussels.

Combined, the attacks resulted in the deaths of 164 people – 130 in Paris and 34 in Brussels – and injuries to over 750 people.The report from Mediapart was based on leaked intelligence documents, which allege the two British men gave up the information while being held by American interrogators in Syria.Kotey and Elsheikh are accused of kidnapping and torturing Western hostages, resulting in the deaths of Americans James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig.

In September last year, 38-year-old Kotey plead guilty to eight charges relating to the murders of the hostages, and will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

At the same time, 33-year-old Elsheikh pleaded not guilty. His trial will take place at the end of March in Alexandria, Virginia.The Beatles ISIS cell became notorious around the world after videos were posted online showing Jihadi John (Mohammed Emwazi) beheading hostages.The first video showed Emwazi beheading James Foley off camera after forcing him to read a statement criticising the United States.Subsequent videos showed the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff and British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning. Another appeared to show the aftermath of the beheading of American aid worker Peter Kassig.

On November 12 2015, Emwazi was reported to have been killed in a drone strike carried out by the United States in Syria, with then-President Barack Obama saying on December 14 he had been ‘taken out’.Kotey and Elsheikh were later captured in early 2018 by the Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces (SDF). In the following months, they both gave interviews to various media outlets which saw Elsheikh admit to guarding hostages who were later killed.He also admitted to getting information from them to be used in ransom negotiations, but Elsheikh later attempted to have his statements tossed out, claiming he made them under torture after he was captured.A judge denied the request, ruling the interrogations could be used in the trial.

They initially pleaded not guilty at a hearing in 2020, but Kotey later changed changed his plea giving hope that he would be open to cooperation.Both men are believed to also be involved in the deaths of Haines and Henning, as well as two Japanese nationals.Families of their victims hope that Elsheikh’s trial in March will give them answers to what happened to their loved ones, including where they were buried.The fourth member of the ‘Beatles’ – Aine Lesley Davis, known as ‘Paul’ – was arrested in Turkey in 2015 and is currently serving a seven and a half year prison sentence.

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