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Islamic State militant sentenced to life in prison in US for murdering American hostages

A federal judge in the United States sentenced a member of an Islamic State cell known as ‘The Beatles’ to life in prison on Friday for his role in a hostage-taking plot that resulted in the deaths of American journalists and charity workers in Syria.


Families and friends of the four Americans killed, as well as other hostages previously held by the militant group, watched as District Court Judge T.S. Ellis sentenced El Shafee Elsheikh, 34, to life in prison without the possibility of parole, describing his actions as ‘horrific, barbaric, brutal, and, of course, criminal.’


In April, a jury determined that the former British citizen was a member of an Islamic State squad known as ‘The Beatles’ because of their English accents that murdered American prisoners in parts of the Middle East held by the militant group. After a two-week trial, he was found guilty on four charges of hostage-taking and four counts of conspiracy.


The victims’ relatives and friends sat in the front rows of the courtroom, obviously upset throughout the hearing as tears streamed down their cheeks and they consoled one another. Elsheikh received eight concurrent life sentences.