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Shaheen: Families of hostages to have their day in court

The transfer of two Islamic State members to the United States to face charges that they beheaded Western hostages is a giant step toward justice, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire said Wednesday.

El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey are two of four men dubbed "the Beatles" by the hostages they held captive because of their British accents. They are expected to make their first appearance in the afternoon in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, where a federal grand jury issued an eight-count indictment.

The charges are a milestone in a years-long effort by U.S. authorities to bring to justice members of the group known for beheadings and barbaric treatment of aid workers, journalists and other hostages in Syria.

The families of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff of New Hampshire, and Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller "have waited a long time for this," Shaheen said in a statement.

"These terrorists have been in legal limbo for years but thankfully that ambiguity is now over," she said. "The families of the Americans murdered by ISIS finally have their day in court on the horizon."