Narrator of ISIS Videos Flown to U.S. To Face Terrorism Charge

WASHINGTON — A Canadian man who narrated two notorious propaganda movies that the Islamic State used to recruit Westerners and to encourage terrorism assaults was secretly whisked to the USA to face federal prosecution in Virginia.

The person, Mohammed Khalifa, 38, a Canadian who traveled to Syria in 2013 and later joined the Islamic State, was charged with materials terrorism help that resulted in demise, in accordance to a legal criticism made public on Saturday. He was captured in early 2019 by a Kurdish-led militia, the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is backed by the USA.

The militia handed over Mr. Khalifa to F.B.I. brokers this week, and he was flown to the USA. Mr. Khalifa, who was born in Saudi Arabia, seems to be the primary international fighter to be prosecuted in the USA through the Biden administration. He’s scheduled to make an preliminary look in court docket early subsequent week.

Mr. Khalifa was the voice of a 2014 ISIS video referred to as “Flames of Struggle.” The unit he labored for was accountable for publicizing such brutal footage because the beheading of the American journalist James Foley and different Western hostages.

Prosecutors stated Mr. Khalifa “performed an necessary function within the manufacturing and dissemination of ISIS propaganda throughout a number of media platforms focusing on Western audiences.”

In a 2019 interview with The New York Occasions carried out from a jail in northeast Syria, Mr. Khalifa claimed he performed no function within the precise killings carried out by the Islamic State.

“I used to be simply the voice,” Mr. Khalifa stated. He added within the interview that he didn’t remorse what he had performed.

Though Mr. Khalifa performed down his contributions to the Islamic State within the interview, prosecutors and the F.B.I. made clear he was a “distinguished determine” inside the Islamic State media unit, which he joined in April 2014. An F.B.I. agent described him as “important” as a result of of his fluency in Arabic and English and stated he was in cost of the Islamic State’s “English Media Part,” in accordance to the legal criticism

Prosecutors stated that he assisted within the translation and narration of roughly 15 movies that had been created and distributed by the Islamic State. Two of probably the most “influential and exceedingly violent” propaganda movies, prosecutors stated, had been known as “Flames of Struggle: Combating Has Simply Begun” and “Flames of Struggle II: Till the Ultimate Hour.” The primary was distributed in September 2014 and the second in November 2017.

In accordance to court docket paperwork, Mr. Khalifa was engaged in combating — not only a propagandist. Within the days earlier than his seize by the Syrian Democratic Forces, he threw “grenades towards opposing combatants,” prosecutors stated.

Mr. Khalifa’s arrest is the newest instance of F.B.I. brokers and federal prosecutors on the U.S. lawyer’s workplace in Alexandria pursuing Islamic State terrorists and bringing them to Virginia to face prices regardless of the numerous problems related to these varieties of worldwide terrorism circumstances.

Final month, Alexanda Kotey, 37, who was half of an ISIS cell of 4 Britons known as “the Beatles,” pleaded responsible to a number of prices, together with conspiracy to commit hostage taking leading to demise and conspiracy to homicide U.S. residents exterior the USA.

One other member of the identical cell, El Shafee Elsheikh, has pleaded not responsible.

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