ITV News has revealed two British men who were believed to be a part of a so-called Islamic State terror cell that detained and beheaded a series of hostages in Syria.
Alexe Kotey and Aine Davis became friends with notorious IS killer Mohammed Emwazi – known in the media as “Jihadi John” – during their time in London long before travelling to Syria.
- Alexe Kotey: ‘The leader’
Described as leader of the British cell responsible for the beheadings of westerners such as Alan Henning and James Foley, Muslim convert Kotey, 31, was a key recruiter for the radical group and brought a number of Londoners into its membership – including Emwazi and Davis.
He was born a member of the Greek orthodox church but converted to Islam in his teens.
A west London associate of the pair told ITV News he was not surprised Kotey – known as “Big Sid” – had taken such an active role in recruiting for the terror group, claiming: “He always had a lot of currency and pulled a lot of people into his orbit.”
“He would meet people in the social atmosphere of the mosque, they make friendships over innocuous things like football and the gym, and then [he would] suck them into [his] orbit,” the other source added.
- Aine Davis: ‘Needed guidance’
In contrast with the picture painted of Kotey, his associate Aine Davis is described as a vulnerable man “in need of guidance”.
The associate from west London told ITV News he was an “incredibly decent and hardworking chap” who “wanted to make something of his life”, but added that he was “impressionable” and “someone who could be easily swayed and influenced”.
Read more: itv.com