Canadian pleads guilty to narrating ISIS videos

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A Canadian Islamist who fought for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group and narrated violent propaganda videos pleaded guilty in a US court on Friday (Dec 10), the Justice Department announced.

Mohammed Khalifa, 38, admitted to “conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organisation (ISIS), resulting in death”, and will be sentenced on April 15, 2022, the department said in a statement.

He faces a life sentence.

Khalifa, who was born in Saudi Arabia, was captured during a firefight in January 2019 by Kurdish-dominated Syrian forces allied with the United States.

He was turned over to the US authorities and charged.

Khalifa left Canada in 2013 to join the ISIS in Syria, and by the next year had become a key member of its propaganda team because of his fluent English and Arabic, according to the statement.

The cell was behind videos showing the beheading of foreigners, including US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, who died in 2014.

“Khalifa provided the narration and translation for approximately 15 videos created and distributed by ISIS,” the Justice Department statement said.

The films he narrated included two of the most violent and influential propaganda films that the ISIS produced: Flames Of War, distributed in 2014, and Flames Of War II, three years later.

In a 2019 interview with Canada’s CBC from his Syrian prison, Khalifa showed no regret for his actions.

He said he wanted to return to Canada with his wife and their three children, but on the condition that he would not be tried there.

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