18 October 2020 :
Islamic State 'Beatles' in court over US hostages' deaths.
Two ex-British alleged Islamic State (IS) suspects have appeared in a US court charged over the killing of four American hostages.
Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh are accused of belonging to an IS cell dubbed "The Beatles" involved in kidnappings in Iraq and Syria. The pair appeared via video link from prison at a hearing in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. The men, who had been in US custody in Iraq, previously denied the charges.
A detention hearing and arraignment were scheduled for Friday but the lawyer appointed to represent the pair, who grew up in London, said he might ask for a delay to allow time to go over the charges with the defendants.
US Assistant Attorney General John Demers told a press conference the charges were "the result of many years of hard work in pursuit of justice" for the four Americans who died - James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig.
Addressing the families of the victims, he said: "Although we cannot bring back your children, we will do all that we can do: obtain justice for them, for you, and for all Americans."
The charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.
The pair are alleged to have been members of an IS gang - nicknamed by hostages after the 1960s pop group due to their British accents - which was responsible for the death of hostages in Iraq and Syria in 2014.
In all, US prosecutors say the squad beheaded more than 27 hostages.
Some of the victims - who included American journalists and UK and US aid workers - were beheaded and their deaths filmed and broadcast on social media.
Kotey and Elsheikh, originally from west London, were previously stripped of their UK nationality.
The IS group's alleged ringleader, Mohammed Emwazi, known as "Jihadi John" died in a drone strike in 2015.
The fourth member of the group, Aine Davis, was sentenced to seven years in prison in Turkey three years ago.