Canadian man who narrated ISIS videos pleads guilty to aiding terrorist group

A Canadian citizen who traveled to Syria to sign up for the Islamic State staff just about a decade in the past pleaded guilty Friday to serving as one of the group’s extra outstanding English-language propagandists.

Mohammed Khalifa, 38, pleaded in charge to conspiring to provide subject matter give a boost to to a chosen overseas terrorist organization, resulting in dying, at a listening to in U.S. District Court Docket in Alexandria, Va. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III accepted the plea.

according to court docket data, Khalifa left Canada for Syria in 2013 after being inspired by the lectures of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. cleric who later turned into a leading figure in al-Qaeda.

Prosecutors stated Khalifa narrated two notorious Islamic State propaganda videos — “Flames of Conflict” in 2014 and “Flames of Battle II” in 2017 — designed to recruit Westerners to enroll in the Islamic State or to kill Westerners as part of a world holy struggle marketing campaign.

Khalifa additionally fought at the battlefield, consistent with prosecutors. He was captured by way of Syrian Defence Forces in 2019 and held overseas till he was dropped at Virginia in advance this yr to stand charges.

in step with an FBI affidavit, Khalifa informed FBI retailers he anticipated to be despatched to an Islamic State training camp while he joined the group in overdue 2013. As A Substitute, he used to be recruited to join the organization’s media department because of his English-language abilities and spent nearly five years as a leader of their English-language propaganda unit, it stated.

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The affidavit said Khalifa narrated a lot of videos besides “Flames of Struggle” and its sequel, which display prisoners being executed and decapitated. In some other video, titled “inside the Khilafah,” Khalifa urges listeners, if they don’t seem to be capable of travel to Syria to enroll in the Islamic State, to as an alternative “terrorize the disbelievers with your jihad outside the khilafah by means of focused on them and dropping their blood.”

Khalifa advised dealers he was once captured in January 2019 when he defied an Islamic State order to flee from advancing forces in Shafaa, Syria. As A Substitute, he said, he introduced a solo assault of types on Syrian Security Forces, surrendering after his AK-47 rifle jammed. 

In a news liberate pronouncing the guilty plea, federal prosecutors stated the “Flames of War” movies include scenes of a masked Khalifa executing a different Syrian soldier in every of the 2 movies — at the same time as other masked ISIS individuals also shoot the prisoners kneeling in entrance of each of them. 

Khalifa is scheduled to be sentenced on April 15. He faces a most penalty of existence in jail. 

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