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  1. ITV Report

British IS fighter said he wanted to return to the UK in last interview before removal from 'unstable' Syrian prison

A British IS fighter said he wanted to return to the UK to defend himself in his last interview before he was moved from an "unstable" Syrian prison and into US custody.

Speaking to ITV News Security Editor Rohit Kachroo, El Shafee Elsheikh said staying where he was currently held was "not really an option".

He added: "I don't think it's an option. I mean talking here where we are right now, because it's unstable.

"Just for that simple reason, it's very unstable. People mention Guantanamo and ICC [International Criminal Court] and things like this."

The US has since removed Elsheikh, along with fellow British ISIS fighter Alexanda Kotey, from the Syrian prison to an undisclosed location. The pair are both accused of beheading hostages for ISIS.

President Donald Trump said earlier on Wednesday the US had transferred some IS prisoners amid fears they could escape custody as Turkish troops invade north-eastern Syria.

He tweeted they are in a secure location controlled by the US and described the two militants as "the worst of the worst".

When asked where he would prefer to be held, Elsheikh told ITV News he wanted to stand trial in the UK.

"If the UK wants to put me on trial then I will defend myself with what I can, I will admit to what I admit to, and defend myself on what I defend myself on, that's it," he said.

On the prospect of extradition to the US, he said he has "never committed a crime in the United States" and "has nothing" there.

Speaking in the same Syrian prison before his removal, Alexanda Kotey, thought to be a key IS recruiter, told ITV News he has no knowledge of his case or what is planned for him.

He said he knows as much as anyone asking him about his fate and "wouldn't know" about the "latest".

"I don't have any expectations neither," he said.

"As I said, the information I have received is very minimal so I don't know anything about what's been happening on the outside."

The pair became members of the terror cell and were known as ‘The Beatles’. Credit: AP

Who is Alexanda Kotey?

Kotey, 34, became a key IS recruiter after converting to Islam in his twenties.

The father-of-two, born into the Greek Orthodox Church, went on to lead the so-called 'Beatles' cell in Syria, which held hostages and executed a string of western captives including Britons David Haines and Alan Henning.

Alexanda Kotey was a key IS recruiter. Credit: AP

It is believed Kotey was responsible for radicalising a several young men in west London before leaving Britain.

He was arrested by Syrian Kurdish forces earlier this year, and will now face trial, probably in the United States or UK.

Who is El Shafee Elsheikh?

El Shafee Elsheikh was arrested alongside Alexanda Kotey. Credit: AP

A British citizen whose family fled Sudan in the 1990s, El Shafee Elsheikh was arrested alongside Kotey.

American officials say Elsheikh, known to friends as ‘Shaf’, travelled to Syria in 2012, first joining Al-Qaida’s (AQ) branch in Syria, and later joined ISIS. While in Raqqa he is thought to have become a member of the terror cell known as ‘The Beatles’.