Two IS 'Beatles' to face charges in US: Justice source

Washington (AFP) –


Two members of an Islamic State cell dubbed the "Beatles" accused of killing several Western hostages are to be brought to the United States on Wednesday to face charges, a Justice Department source said.

El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey are suspected of involvement in the murders of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and aid worker Peter Kassig during 2014-2015.

They are also believed to be responsible for the murders of two Britons, Alan Henning and David Haines.

They were stripped of their UK citizenship and have been in the custody of US forces in Iraq.

A two-year legal impasse was broken recently when US Attorney General Bill Barr said they would be spared the death penalty if convicted in the United States.

The families of Foley, Kassig, Sotloff and another IS victim, Kayla Mueller, welcomed the report that the pair were being brought to the United States to face justice.

"James, Peter, Kayla and Steven were kidnapped, tortured, beaten, starved, and murdered by members of the Islamic State in Syria," they said in a joint statement. "Now our families can pursue accountability for these crimes against our children in a US court."