US prosecutors have produced documents that showed UK authorities arrested and dealt with members of the Daesh “Beatles” cell more than a dozen times before their violent activities in Syria.
New court documents revealed that Alexanda Kotey, dubbed “Jihadi Ringo,” and El Shafee El-Sheikh, named “Jihadi George,” previously carried out drug dealing and theft before becoming feared Daesh operators.
The four-man terror cell, named after the English band due to their notable accents, carried out several high-profile executions in the war-torn country which included include four Americans and two British aid workers.
The Daesh “Beatles” are accused of executing more than 20 hostages between 2012 and 2015 amid Syria’s bloody civil war. Their victims include US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.
Kotey pleaded guilty last Thursday to several terror offenses in the US, while El-Sheikh is awaiting trial. Papers show that Kotey earlier attempted to travel to Syria three times, and was arrested at a London train station carrying a knife.
Mohammed Emwazi, dubbed “Jihadi John,” was also stopped from boarding a flight in England, prosecutors said.
MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, was aware of the threat posed by Emwazi. He was stopped in 2009 trying to enter Tanzania on suspicion of attempting to join a terror training camp.
In 2011, a British court linked him to an underground Al-Qaeda cell in London. Emwazi was killed in 2015 by a US drone strike in Syria.
Kotey and El-Sheikh were detained in Syria by Western-backed forces in 2018, and were later transported to the US to stand trial.
The fourth member of the group Aine Davis, nicknamed “Jihadi Paul,” was jailed in Turkey.
In a separate incident raised by US prosecutors, Kotey and El-Sheikh were arrested in 2011 following violent clashes between supporters of the radical preacher Anjem Choudary and the far-right English Defence League in London.
Kotey’s plea deal is expected to result in a 15-year sentence in a US prison before transfer back to the UK for further sentencing. Close sources expect him to spend the rest of his life within the UK prison system.
As part of the deal, Kotey has agreed to supply valuable information to authorities regarding Daesh operations. “The defendant agrees to cooperate with all foreign governments seeking information,” the agreement says. (Source: Arab News)