A Canadian jihadist, said to be a key player in the Islamic State group’s propaganda output and who played several violent videos, was sentenced on Friday to life in prison, the US Justice Department said.
Mohammed Khalifa, who was born in Saudi Arabia, pleaded guilty in December to conspiring to provide material aid to IS, which resulted in his death.
According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) indictment, he left Canada in 2013 to join the IS group in Syria, where he played a leading role in the self-proclaimed “caliphate” that spread across that country and Iraq.
The DOJ said Khalifa, now 39, began serving in “leading roles” within the IS group and by 2014 had become a prominent member of a propaganda cell, notably due to her mastery of both English and Arabic.
That cell was notably behind the production of videos of foreign hostages, including American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, who were beheaded in 2014.
The DOJ said Khalifa also provided English voiceover for two of the most “extraordinarily violent” IS videos from 2014 and 2017, in which he is seen killing Syrian soldiers.
He is also the alleged narrator of recruitment videos showing IS attacks in France and Belgium, urging others to participate in similar acts of violence.
In January 2019, he was captured during a shelling by Kurdish-dominated Syrian forces allied with the United States.
In an interview with Canada’s CBC that same year from his Syrian prison, Khalifa showed no remorse for his actions. He said he wanted to return to Canada with his wife and their three children, but on condition that he would not be prosecuted.
However, he was assigned to US authorities in 2021 and eventually transferred to the United States.