A Canadian national who narrated propaganda videos for the Islamic State group has been charged in the US.
Mohammed Khalifa, a Saudi-born man, was apprehended by a Kurdish-led militia in Syria in 2019 and later handed over to the FBI.
According to prosecutors, the 38-year-old was the “voice behind the violence.” He is said to have been an IS fighter before translating and narrating videos.
He is scheduled to appear in a US court next week on charges of “material support to a terrorist organisation.”
Mr Khalifa stated in a newspaper interview following his capture that he was a low-level fighter and “just the voice” of IS. He insisted that he had played no part in the filming or execution of the gruesome scenes he described.
Mr Khalifa left Canada in 2013 to join IS in Syria, where he became a key member of the group’s propaganda team “due in part to his linguistic capabilities as a fluent English and Arabic speaker”, according to a US justice department statement.
He faces up to life in prison if convicted.
As the group expanded its reach in Syria and Iraq, online videos depicting beheadings and other atrocities were a key feature of IS’s global recruitment drive.
However, as the militants began to lose territory in 2017, the propaganda effort dwindled.