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US sentences Canadian who shared IS videos to life imprisonment

#sentences #Canadian #shared #videos #life #imprisonment

A Canadian jihadist allegedly playing a key role in Islamic State group’s propaganda production and narrating several violent videos was sentenced to life in prison on Friday, the US Justice Department said.

Saudi Arabian-born Mohammed Khalifa pleaded guilty in December to conspiring to provide material support to ISIS, resulting in death.

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ) indictment, he left Canada in 2013 to join the IS group in Syria, where he quickly assumed a leading role in the self-proclaimed “Caliphate” that spanned that country and Iraq.

Khalifa, now 39, quickly began serving in “prominent roles” within the IS group and by 2014 had become a key member of a propaganda cell, the DOJ said, particularly due to his proficiency in English and Arabic.

This cell was notably behind the production of videos of executions of foreign hostages, including US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, who were beheaded in 2014.

Khalifa also provided the English voiceover for two of the “extraordinarily violent” ISIS videos from 2014 and 2017, in which he is seen executing Syrian soldiers, the DOJ said.

He is also the alleged narrator of recruitment videos showing IS attacks in France and Belgium and urging others to engage in similar acts of violence.

In January 2019, he was captured during a firefight by Kurdish-dominated Syrian forces allied with the United States.

In an interview with Canada’s CBC from his Syrian prison that same year, Khalifa showed no regrets 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.

However, he was entrusted to American authorities in 2021 and eventually transferred to the United States.

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