3 Mar 2015

New video: Islamist who ‘guarded hostages’ with Jihadi John

Home Affairs Correspondent

London jihadi Choukri Ellekhlifi may have been one of the so-called “Beatles”, the nickname given to the British gang that guarded hostages in Syria for Islamic State, Channel 4 News has been told.

Ellekhlifi, who was killed in Aleppo in 2013, went to the same London secondary school as Mohammed Emwazi (Jihadi John), who was the leader of the so-called “Beatles”.

Channel 4 News has obtained video footage showing Ellekhlifi preaching on an Islamic stall on a west london street before he went to Syria.

Asked if he and Emwazi were in the same gang that guarded western hostages, journalist James Harkin told Channel 4 News: “I’m sure he was… based on my interviews with Syrians and Europeans who are now free.

“There is an early member of the Beatles who was relatively kind to the hostages, who dropped out pretty quickly. Shukri we know died in August 2013.

Petty crime

“Jihadi John was from a very small, tightly-knit group of Islamic militants involved in both the propagating of religion and in acts of petty crime between 2011 and 2012. Choukri appears to have been a member of that gang and also a member of the so-called Beatles.”

Mr Harkin, who is writing a book about Islamic State kidnappings in Syria, added: “Choukri was convicted shortly before he left for Syria, conspiracy to rob, something that involved using masks and tasers to rob, possibly to fund the future trip to Syria.

Tasers

“Now the reason that becomes important is because we also know from reporting of the kidnappings that Tasers were used very early on by this British gang that I’m sure Choukri was involved in.

“What we see is Choukri doing more or less the same things he was doing in west london – running round with Tasers – now in Syria, although now humiliating other people rather than him being humiliated himself.”

Channel 4 News has not been able to independently verify James Harkin’s claims.

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