The 39-year-old man is seen as a key player in the Islamic State (IS) group. Notably, he has voiced several IS propaganda videos.
The US Department of Justice on Friday sentenced a Canadian jihadist who voiced his videos to life in prison as a key contributor to the Islamic State (IS) group’s campaign.
Mohammed Khalifa, who was born in Saudi Arabia 39 years ago, pleaded guilty in December to “supporting a terrorist criminal organization”. According to the indictment, he left Canada in 2013 to join ISIS in Syria. He quickly took the lead within the self-proclaimed “caliphate” he established between 2014 and 2019, crossing over into Iraq and Syria. By 2014, he had become a “key member” of the jihadist organization’s propaganda team, particularly because of his command of English and Arabic.
Captured in 2019
The cell is inspired by videos of the executions of foreign hostages, including American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, who were beheaded in 2014. “Extremely violent IS”, two of which are titled “Flames of War”, the first in 2014 and the second in 2017, says the document says he has executed Syrian soldiers.
He is also the narrator of “recruitment videos” illustrated with images of the organization’s attacks in France and Belgium, encouraging other candidates for jihad to take action. In 2019, he was captured by the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces.
In an interview with the Canadian channel CBC from his Syrian prison, Mohammed Khalifa, Abu Ritowan al-Ghanadi, expressed 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 not be tried there. But he was handed over to US authorities in 2021 and transferred to the US.