IS beheads US journalist
James Foley's killer could be one among the four-member gang, nicknamed 'The Beatles', which has members named John, Paul, George and Ringo.Screenshot of the IS video taken from SITE Intelligence

The James Foley's execution story is going through more twists and turns with each passing day as new reports emerge that the man seen in the beheading video, released by ISIS militants last week, was one among four-member gang, nicknamed 'The Beatles' (and not three as previously reported).

Each one of them was recognised by a name of the popular English band members as John, Paul, George and Ringo.

The reports come as investigators are on the verge of identifying the jihadist who appeared to speak with a strong London accent as the British-born rapper who left his parents' million-dollar home last year to fight with the Sunni militants in Syria.

The Daily Mail published on Sunday a report that they claimed to have "pieced together an unprecedented picture of the British gang's brutal operation," giving details of the four-member gang, specialised with the hardliner Sunni militant group for kidnapping westerners like James Foley and either killing them or using them as bargaining chip with the captives' home countries.

Here is a bit of known information on the four-member gang, specialised in hostage taking:

  • JOHN:

Recognised among their Western captives as 'John', Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, a 23-year-old London rapper, has been identified as prime suspect. He left his million-dollar home last year to fight for the hardliner group and once posted a picture of himself holding a severed head, the New York Daily News has noted.

He is one of six children of Abdel Abdul Bary, an Egyptian militant, who is currently facing terrorism charges in connection with Al Qaeda's twin 1998 at the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224, reports suggest.


According to the Mail, Geroge was in fact, the ringleader of the gang and spends much of his time reciting chunks from the Koran and promoting ISIS's extremist views of Islam at public events. Many of the hostages were of the view that he wasn't as smart as 'John', the British daily noted citing various interviews with the captives' family members.

Though it is not clear what exactly George's real name is, it has been speculated that he could be 23-year-old Abu Abduallah al-Britani, originally from the county of Hampshire on England's south coast, according to the Sunday Mirror.

Having fled the UK for Syria earlier this year, he was recently cited as saying that Allah makes beheading victims "easy". Speaking a day after the sickening video of James Foley's execution appeared, he was quoted by Mirror as saying he had no fears about carrying out similar atrocities in Syria. He was speaking via a messaging app and responding to an investigative journalist who posed as someone wanting to joining ISIS.

  • RINGO:

Ringo was also among the four-member special kidnapping squad within the group, who was frequently seen by the captives unlike 'Paul' who appeared in their cells the least, the captives were cited as saying by the Mail. "He seems to have been just a guard, not there all the time," one 'key figure' was quoted as saying.

  • PAUL:

A new member of the Beatles group to be named by media, Paul could be one member investigated as a possible suspect. But no more details about the man have been cited by Mail on its investigative piece.

Also it is not clear what Ringo's or Paul's real names are, but a third person – who could be either 'Ringo' or 'Paul' – has been identified by various newspapers as 20-year-old Abu Hussain al-Britani, who is originally from Birmingham.