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Britain washes its hands of two 'Beatles' jihadis captured in Syria and will not oppose extradition to US
Britain has effectively washed its hands of Isil executioners Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh and will not stand in the way of any moves to extradite them to the US, The Daily Telegraph understands.
El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey
The two Londoners have been stripped of their British citizenship, rendering them stateless, and sources say it is "very unlikely" any attempt will be made to bring them to the UK to stand trial for their alleged part in the deaths of British hostages.
The two men, who were captured by Kurdish forces in Syria last month, were part of a quartet of British jihadis nicknamed The Beatles by hostages because of their English accents.
...sources have told the Telegraph there is little desire among ministers to bring them back to the UK. There is a desire in America to bring the two men to justice in the US for the murder of their American hostages, and one possibility is that they could be taken to the Guantamo Bay detention centre in Cuba.
British sources have suggested the Government would not stand in the way of US moves to extradite them.
The leader of the group, Mohammed Emwazi, known as "Jihadi John", was killed by a US drone strike in 2015 and the fourth member, Aine Davis, is in jail in Turkey after being convicted last year of terrorism. Kotey and Elsheikh, both from west London, are understood to be co-operating with their captors, and have given up "valuable information" relating to the Isil leadership and to hostages whose fate remains unknown. According to reports in the US the Kurds handed them over to US Special Forces, who confirmed their identities using fingerprints and biometric tests.
Britain is understood to be liaising with the US over their interrogation. Among the questions they could potentially answer is what has happened to British hostage John Cantlie, who appeared in a series of Isil propaganda videos after he was kidnapped in 2012. There have been reports that Mr Cantlie, a war photographer from Winchester, was killed during the battle of Mosul, but conflicting reports have suggested he is still alive and is among 22 journalists being held captive.
Kurdish sources said the men had revealed possible locations of the burial site of Jihadi John's victims, including Henning and Haines. The videos of their beheadings were always thought to have been filmed in the hills above Raqqa, which once served as the capital of Isil's so-called caliphate. US intelligence has long suspected a general location, but had not been able to send US personnel on a search without more specific details and because there has been fighting in the area until recently.