Trial of member of Islamic State “Beatles” group on charges of killing hostages in Syria begins in U.S.

VIRGINIA, U.S. — On Monday, the trial of El Shafee Elsheikh, accused of joining the Islamic State (ISIS) and participating in killings in Syria, began at a federal court in the U.S. state of Virginia.

Elsheikh, 33, was a member of the four-man ISIS group known as “The Beatles” because of their British accents.

The group is accused of killing U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller who were in Syria helping and reporting on refugees during the Syrian war.

Prosecutors said that the Elsheikh was linked to the murders of British, Japanese, and Norwegian prisoners as well.

The Washington Post reported that Elsheikh could be found guilty without directly having killed anyone if jurors find that he agreed to participate in the hostage-taking plan that ultimately led to the killings.