This morning the United States Department of Justice made a great announcement that two members of the ISIS cell “The Beatles” are in American FBI custody and will arrive in the country soon and will appear in Federal Court in the Eastern District of Virginina.
John C. Demers, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, made the announcement saying the two men, Alexanda Amon Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, have been indicted for taking 4 Americans hostage and then brutally killing them.
The 4 Americans killed by these terrorists were James Wright Foley, Steven Joel Sotloff, Peter Edward Kassig, and Kayla Jean Mueller. In the announcement, Demers said that he didn’t want to talk about the horrific way they died, but wanted to remember them for the way they lived. He mentioned each person by name and shared something special about them from their lives. He said,
“Many around the world are familiar with the barbaric circumstances of their tragic deaths. But we will not remember these Americans for their deaths. We will remember them for the good and decent lives they lived. James Foley was a print and video journalist who was covering the civil war in Syria. He had previously served as a conflict zone correspondent in Iraq and then in Libya. James was a former elementary school teacher. Steven Sotloff was a journalist who covered the Middle East and was in Syria reporting on the refugee crisis. According to a longtime friend, he was drawn to the region to “give a voice to the people who didn’t have one.” Steven was the grandson of Holocaust survivors, who inspired him to be that voice.
“Peter Kassig was in Syria working for a humanitarian organization that he founded to deliver food and medical aid to refugees. He had previously served as an elite airborne Ranger in the U.S. Army, which included service in Iraq. Kayla Mueller was a humanitarian aid worker and human rights activist who, inspired by her faith, devoted much of her young life to serving those in need both at home and around the world. As President Trump shared during his 2020 State of the Union Address, the American warriors who conducted the military operation that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi were so inspired by Kayla that they named the mission “Task Force 8-14,” a reference to August 14th — Kayla’s birthday.”
Demer promised all terrorists, those in the United States or abroad, who threaten the lives and peace of Americans that they will be met with full American force either in war or in the courtroom and that either way, they will never know peace again. He vowed,
“As for Kotey and Elsheikh – like many other terrorists before them – they have underestimated American resolve to obtain justice for our fellow citizens who are harmed or killed by terrorists anywhere in the world. These men will now be brought before a United States court to face justice for the depraved acts alleged against them in the indictment. As for their ringleader, Mohamed Emwazi (infamously known as Jihadi John), he faced a different type of American resolve — the mighty reach of our military, which successfully targeted him in an airstrike several years ago.
“My message to other terrorists is this — if you harm an American, you will face the same fate as these men. You will face American arms on the battlefield, and if you survive, you will face American justice in an American courtroom with the prospect of many years in an American prison. Either way, you will never live in peace — you will be pursued to the ends of the earth. No matter how long it may take, we will never forget, and we will never quit.”
He continued with assurance for the American people that the threat of Islamic terrorism is ever present in the world, but that America will never stop fighting to protect her citizens from all the different threats we face, especially terrorism. He concluded, “The step we take today is just that — a step. But it is a big one. I can assure you that the men and women of the Department of Justice will not stop until justice is finally won.”
Source: Official Transcript and Announcement from the U.S. Department of Justice; Photo-Center for Strategic and International Studies