ISIS 'Beatle' Kotey Suspected of Helping Organise Shepherd's Bush Terror Plot

Jihadist was in contact with Tarik Hassane, jailed for planning to kill police and soldiers

Alexanda Kotey (left) and El Shafee Elsheikh (right)


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Alexanda Kotey, a member of the notorious Islamic State cell nicknamed 'The Beatles' is suspected of helping to organise the terror plot in 2014 which aimed to murder soldiers and police officers in Shepherd's Bush.

Kotey, 34 and a second member of the cell, El Shafee Elsheikh, 29, both of whom grew up in Shepherd's Bush, were captured earlier this year by the Western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

According to US officials the group, nicknamed The Beatles because of their British accents was responsible for the beheading of at least 27 hostages and the torture of many more in Raqqa in Syria.

Kotey, working with other Islamic State militants, is suspected of guiding and funding the local terrorist plotters, who planned to attack Shepherd’s Bush police station in Uxbridge Road and the army barracks in South Africa Road, targeting police, military or members of the public and then making their escape on a moped.

However, the plot was foiled by Scotland Yard detectives in
2014, just weeks after Kotey and the cell of four British men are believed to have beheaded the US photojournalist James Fole

Kotey was reportedly in regular communication with medical student Tarik Hassane, who was jailed for life in 2016 for conspiring to commit a terrorist murder and ordered to serve a minimum of 21 years for his part as ringleader of the gang.

Tarik Hassane

Tarik Hassane

Three others were also convicted for their part in the plot. Suhaib Majeed, 22, was also found guilty of conspiring to commit a terrorist murder. He also received a life sentence and was ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years in prison.

Two other men, Nyall Hamlett, 25 and Nathan Cuffy, 26 pleaded guilty to firearms offences. They were found not guilty of conspiring to commit a terrorist murder, but pleaded guilty to firearms offences. Hamlett was sentenced to six and a half years imprisonment and Cuffy was sentenced to 11 years in prison

According to an ITV News report, this case was one of the most complex ever undertaken by Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command with detectives examining 22 terabytes of digital material amounting to two million files.

It took officers 44,834 hours to examine all the material. ITV News says it has learned that the digital haul included commands sent by senior ISIS fighters in Syria, indicating the plot was not only inspired by the terror group but directed by it.

Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh were the last two members of the Beatles cell to be captured or killed.

Mohammed Emwazi, nickhnamed ‘Jihadi John’ after featuring in IS videos beheading hostages including British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, was killed in a drone strike in 2015.

Aine Davis, who was also from West London, was the fourth member of the group. He was convicted of being a senior member of IS after being arrested in Istanbul and is currently being held in a Turkish prison.

US state department officials told the New York Times that Kotey took part in the torture of hostages and El Shafee Elsheikh was responsible for guarding prisoners and subjected them to waterboarding and mock executions.

El Shafee Elsheikh was born in the Sudan but grew up in White City and supports QPR. At one point he preached from a stall outside Shepherd's Bush Tube Station. He studied engineering at Acton College then worked as a mechanic and on the funfair when it visited Shepherd's Bush Green. His youngest brother Mahmoud also joined IS as and was killed in Tikrit, Iraq, in April 2015.

His father, Rashid Sidahmed ElSheikh, a translator, told the Guardian his son had travelled to Syria to fight for jihadists at the start of 2012. He described his son’s radicalisation as "lightning fast". His mother, Maha Elgizouli, told The Washington Post, that his radicalization was extremely fast after he began following the preaching of a West London imam, Hani al-Sibai.

" My kids were perfect, and one day it suddenly happened," she said. She approached al-Sibai and slapped him, asking: "What have you done to my son?"

She said she had no idea that her son was a member of ISIS and added, " That boy now is not my son. That is not the son I raised."

Alexanda Kotey, has been described as the terror cell’s leader. Known as Alexe, has been described by neighbours in West London as a quiet man who was a dedicated QPR fan. Kotey, who has two children still living in London, is also believed to be connected to the 'London Boys' a network of extremists who played five-a-side football in west London and who have been linked to the 7/7 London bombings and the subsequent failed 21/7 plot.

Both of the men were Christians who became Muslim converts after meeting Emwazi at the Al-Manaar mosque in Ladbroke Grove, where their extremist views led to them being marginalised.

It is understood that both men have had their citizenship rescinded although it is thought unlikely at this stage that they will return to the UK.

April 16, 2018

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