They are believed to be part of the four-person group of Islamic State fighters with British accents known as the “Beatles,” a nickname used by their captives to refer to them covertly.
In a news conference at the Justice Department, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the announcement of the indictments “makes clear once again that combating terrorism remains the FBI’s top priority, and that the entire United States government remains committed to bringing to justice anyone who harms our citizens.”
The notorious terrorist cell has been accused of at least 27 killings, including the 2014 beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and American aid worker Peter Kassig.
In interviews obtained in July by NBC News, Elsheikh and Kotey admitted their involvement in the captivity of American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who was raped by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and killed in 2015.
Al-Baghdadi was killed in a U.S. special operations raid in Syria ordered by President Donald Trump last October.
Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey were the last two members of the “Beatles” cell to be captured. Mohammed Emwazi, the ringleader known as as “Jihadi John,” was killed in an airstrike in Syria in 2015. Aine Davis is imprisoned in Turkey.
NBC News first reported the expected transfer of Elsheikh and Kotey to the U.S.