The Latest: IS member says hostage killings ‘unfortunate’

The Latest on two detained notorious British IS group members (all times local):

6:45 p.m.

A British man accused of belonging to an Islamic State group cell that captured, tortured and killed western hostages in Syria says their killing was “regrettable” and could have been avoided.

Alexanda Amon Kotey tells The Associated Press in an interview Friday that many people within the Islamic State group would have disagreed with the execution of all the western hostages on the grounds that there is “probably more benefit” in them being political prisoners, than to kill them.

“I didn’t see the benefit in executing them,” he says.

The AP interviewed Kotey and another member of the IS cell dubbed “The Beatles” that are believed to have captured, tortured and killed hostages including American journalist James Foley and Western aid workers.

The men said the accusations against them were media “propaganda.”

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6:35 p.m.

Two British members of the Islamic State group who allegedly belonged to a cell notorious for the beheading of hostages in northern Syria say that revoking their citizenship denies them a fair trial.

The two men are thought to be among four members of the IS cell dubbed “The Beatles” that are believed to have captured, tortured and killed hostages including American journalists and aid workers.

They spoke to The Associated Press in an interview from their captivity Friday in northern Syria, the first to a media outlet since their detention. El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Amon Kotey were captured in early January in eastern Syria by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

In the interview, they slammed the “audacity” of the British government for its “illegal” decision to strip their citizenship. They did not admit any involvement in hostage-takings or beheadings.