The US State Department has imposed sanctions on a British man who was revealed by ITV News to be part of an execution gang known as ‘The Beatles’.
American officials confirmed that Alexanda Kotey, 33, from west London is one of four members of the Islamic State killing cell which operated in Syria.
Describing him as a “specifically designated global terrorist”, diplomats in Washington confirmed an ITV News report last February, which revealed that alongside the executioner known as ‘Jihadi John’, Kotey had been part of a gang responsible for the slaughter of western captives.
A statement published this evening reveals that US authorities believe the group “beheaded around two dozen hostages, including American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff”.
Kotey is also suspected of recruiting several British people to join IS and is accused of carrying out “exceptionally cruel torture methods” including electric shock and waterboarding.
His team of British executioners was led by Mohammed Emwazi – known as Jihadi John - and was also responsible for the killing of British captives David Haines and Alan Henning.
Emwazi was killed in a US drone strike in 2015. A third member, Aine Davis, was arrested in Turkey around the same time. Secret court papers unearthed by ITV News reveal that Davis is on trial in Istanbul accused of being behind a separate IS plot in Turkey. He was not named in today’s State Department announcement.
But the decision to blacklist Kotey indicates that US officials are unsure of his whereabouts and fear he might follow his friend Davis by slipping out of Syria.
The US has frozen any property or interests he may have in the US and banned any of its citizens from having any dealings with him.
Kotey is said to have attended the Al-Manaar mosque in Notting Hill in west London along with Emwazi and Davis.
He reportedly became increasingly radicalised and was influential in encouraging young men to join IS in Syria.
Raised a Greek Orthodox Christian - his mother is believed to have been Greek-Cypriot and his father Ghanaian - he reportedly converted to Islam as a teenager.
US authorities believe Kotey's last known location was in Raqqah, Syria, a State Department spokeswoman said.
It is not clear whether he is still in the city.