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Islamic State: Life sentence for Canadian man who narrated execution videos

Mohammed Khalifa became a key member of an IS propaganda cell due to his mastery of English and Arabic
Mohammed Khalifa, 39, was sentenced to life in prison by a US district Judge in Virginia for aiding Islamic State (Syrian Democratic Forces)

A Canadian man who narrated execution videos for Islamic State (IS) has been sentenced to life in prison in the US. 

Mohammed Khalifa, who was born in Saudi Arabia, pleaded guilty last December to conspiring to provide material support to IS resulting in death. 

US Department of Justice (DOJ) files indicated that Khalifa left Canada in 2013 to join IS in Syria, where he quickly rose through the ranks and adopted a leading role in the militant group. 

Khalifa soon became a vital member of a propaganda cell because of his mastery of English and Arabic. 

The cell was notorious for producing execution videos of foreign hostages, including the US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, who were decapitated in 2014. 

Khalifa also provided the English voiceover for two of the most "exceptionally violent" IS videos, from 2014 and 2017, which show him executing Syrian soldiers, the DOJ said. 

Khalifa is also the alleged narrator of recruitment videos showing IS attacks in France and Belgium, calling on others to participate in similar acts of violence. 

He was captured in January 2019 by Kurdish-dominated Syrian forces allied with the US during a firefight.

In an interview the same year with Canada's CBC from his Syrian prison, Khalifa showed no regret over 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 tried there.

However, he was entrusted in 2021 to American authorities and ultimately transferred to the US.

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