Alleged member of IS ‘Beatles’ cell charged with terrorism

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UK authorities have charged a suspected member of a so-called Islamic State (IS) hostage-taking cell with terrorism offences.

Aine Davis was arrested at Luton Airport on Wednesday night after being deported from Turkey.

The 38-year-old is believed to be one of the IS militants dubbed “The Beatles” due to their British accents. The cell is accused of holding and torturing several Western hostages when IS controlled a large swath of Syria and Iraq last decade.

Several of their captives were beheaded, including American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning.

Davis has been indicted under the Terrorism Act, the Metropolitan Police said on Thursday.

The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service said the charges relate to terrorism offences in 2014 and possession of a firearm for a purpose connected with terrorism.

Davis was arrested in Turkey in 2015 and convicted in 2017 of belonging to the IS group. During his trial there, he denied being one of “The Beatles”.

The group’s four alleged members reportedly met in West London before travelling to the Middle East and joining IS. Mohammed Emwazi, who carried out the executions and was nicknamed “Jihadi John”, was killed in a drone strike in 2015.

Two others — Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh — were captured by US-backed Kurdish forces in 2018 and are imprisoned in the US.

Kotey pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life imprisonment earlier this year. Elsheikh was convicted on all counts in April and will be sentenced next week.