Two of the so-called “IS Beatles” have been taken out of Syria to “a secure location controlled by the US”, President Donald Trump has said.
El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey are accused of being part of an Islamic State group cell which kidnapped and murdered Western hostages in Syria.
The pair – who are from London – are in the custody of the American military, according to US media reports.
In a tweet, Mr Trump described them as “the worst of the worst”.
He said the decision to remove them from Syria had been taken “in case the Kurds or Turkey lose control”.
The news comes after the US withdrew its forces from the region this week.
Other members of the IS cell – dubbed “The Beatles” because of their British accents – included Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John, who was killed in a US air strike in 2015, and Aine Davis, who has been jailed in Turkey.
Emwazi is thought to have killed US journalist James Foley in 2014.
All four were radicalised in the UK before travelling to Syria.
Elsheikh and Kotey are designated as terrorists by the US state department, which links them to the group’s executions and “exceptionally cruel torture methods” including electric shocks, waterboarding and mock executions.
They were said to have been captured by Kurdish forces in January 2018.
The New York Times reports that the US is planning to take Mr Elsheikh and Mr Kotey to Virginia, where they will be put on trial.
It remains to be seen whether the evidence against the pair amassed by British investigators will be handed over in full to US authorities.
Former Prime Minister Theresa May, when she was home secretary in 2015, told Washington the UK would only hand over evidence after receiving a categorical guarantee that neither man would be executed.
The UK has long sought and obtained such a death penalty assurance from the US.
That position was reiterated by Mrs May’s successor, Amber Rudd, but then reversed after Sajid Javid entered the Home Office in April 2018.
Mr Javid decided to hand over 600 witness statements, without seeking any kind of guarantee that Mr Elsheikh and Mr Kotey would not be put to death.
Mr Elsheikh’s mother, Maha Elgizouli challenged the decision but, in January, lost that case in the High Court.
The issue is currently being decided by the UK Supreme Court.
Protesters against Donald Trump’s UK visit have launched a talking and moving robot named the “Trump-Dumper”.
The robot, which depicts President Trump sitting on the toilet, talks in a tongue-in-cheek fashion and takes on the US President’s sometimes controversial tweets.
Its creators hope its popularity overtakes the Donald Trump baby blimp which flew over London in 2018.
US President Donald Trump will make a state visit to the UK in early June, Buckingham Palace is expected to announce later.
The president was promised the visit by Prime Minister Theresa May after he was elected in 2016 – but no date was set.
Downing Street did not comment on the matter when contacted by the BBC.
President Trump and the First Lady, Melania, met the Queen at Windsor Castle when they came to the UK in July 2018 for a two-day working visit.
During the trip, the president also held talks with met Mrs May at Chequers before heading to Scotland, where he owns the Turnberry golf course.
The president’s last visit was marked by demonstrations around the UK.
In London, thousands of people took to the streets to voice their concerns.
And in Scotland, people showed their displeasure, both in Edinburgh and at Turnberry.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council estimated that the police operation for the president’s 2018 visit cost nearly £18m.
It said 10,000 officers from across the country were needed to cover the occasion.
The campaigners behind the 2018 protests – the Stop Trump coalition and Stand Up To Trump – have vowed to mobilise “huge numbers” once again in response to the visit.
What is a state visit?
A state visit is a formal visit by a head of state and is normally at the invitation of the Queen, who acts on advice from the government.
State visits are grand occasions, but they are not just ceremonial affairs. They have political purpose and are used by the government of the day to further what it sees as Britain’s national interests.
Once the location and dates are confirmed, the government, the visiting government and the royal household will agree on a detailed schedule.
So what is involved?
The Queen acts as the official host for the duration of the trip, and visitors usually stay at either Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle.
There is usually a state banquet, and a visit to – and speeches at – the Houses of Parliament may be included. The Speaker of the House of Commons is one of three “key holders” to Westminster Hall, and as such, effectively holds a veto over who addresses Parliament.
The Queen usually receives one or two heads of state a year. She has hosted 109 state visits since becoming monarch in 1952.
The official website of the Queen and the Royal Family has a full list of all state visits since then, including details of how the ceremonies unfold.