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Counter Terrorism Command help with prosecution of Daesh terror cell

El Shafee Elsheikh was sentenced in the US last week for crimes involving the torture and murder of a number of hostages taken by Daesh in 2014 and 2015.

The Met’s Counter Terrorism Command had launched an investigation in 2012 following the kidnapping of British journalist John Cantlie and American photojournalist James Foley in northern Syria. 

In the following months, a number of other journalists and aid workers were kidnapped in the same region - including two other UK nationals - David Haines and Alan Henning. 

The Met has said that intelligence gathered from witness accounts and other sources suggests that those involved in detaining hostages were UK nationals who had travelled to Syria. 

Now El Shafee Elsheikh and co-defendant Alexanda Kotey have each been sentenced to eight life sentences. 

The Met has said that evidence they collected had contributed to strengthening the prosecution case. 

It includes a video taken by an officer of Elsheikh and Kotey being spoken to by police following arrests relating to an English Defence League (EDL) march on September 11, 2011 and a stabbing that occured that was later played at the trial. 

At the time of the 2011 arrests, the two defendants’ phones were seized. The data on them was then reviewed and showed messages between them and Mohammed Emwazi, also known as “Jihadi John”. 

Officers also used voice recordings of Elsheikh and Emwazi. A police interview tape of Emwazi dating to 2009 was compared with the voice of the executioner in the Daesh videos and an expert found them to be a match. 

Commander Richard Smith, who leads the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “This is one of the most significant international terrorism cases ever brought to trial. These were some of the most barbaric terrorist acts ever seen, carried out with chilling callousness and brutality.

“This was a painstaking investigation, unprecedented in scale, carried out by skilled and determined officers which involved taking tiny fragments of information about these men - gathered from isolated events that occurred years earlier – and piecing them together to paint a compelling picture proving their involvement in terrorist crimes committed in Syria.

“Tackling terrorism is a truly global effort, and this case was an example of how we work closely with law enforcement and security partners in the US, Europe and elsewhere to stop terrorists operating wherever they are in the world.”

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