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DOJ Announces British ISIS Terrorists Will Stand Trial in U.S. for Murder of American Hostages

ISIS fighter in Raqqa, Syria, June 2014 (Stringer/Reuters)

The Justice Department on Wednesday announced that two ISIS terrorists are are en route to the U.S. to face charges in the the capture and murders of four U.S. citizens in Syria from 2012 to 2015.

Alexanda Kotey, 36, and El Shafee Elsheikh, 32, two former British citizens who were part of a group of four ISIS guards known as “The Beatles,” will make their initial appearance in court later Wednesday in Alexandria, Va.

The two former ISIS terrorists grew up in the United Kingdom, where they became radicalized, the Justice Department said.

They “participated in the abduction of American and European hostages in Syria” including British and Japanese nationals and “allegedly engaged in a prolonged pattern of physical and psychological violence against the hostages, including against American citizens James Wright Foley, Kayla Jean Mueller, Steven Joel Sotloff, and Peter Edward Kassig,” according to a 24-page indictment unsealed Wednesday.

“Today, we remember the victims, Jim Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig, and Kayla Mueller, and their families who are forever affected by these senseless acts of violence,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said during a press conference. “These families have suffered with the painful loss of their loved ones at the hands of brutal killers; today’s charges demonstrate the FBI’s dedication and commitment to giving them the justice they deserve. We, along with our partners in the U.S. Government, remain steadfast in our duty to bring to justice those who have harmed our citizens — no matter where they are, and no matter how long it takes.”

The two “Beatles” are charged with several felonies, including hostage taking resulting in death, conspiracy to murder a U.S. citizen outside of the U.S., and conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization resulting in death.

They face a maximum penalty of life in prison for each count.

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