Media figure and foreign fighter charged with conspiring to support ISIS terrorist organization

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEWS10) – On Saturday, Mohammed Khalifa, 38, of Canada, was charged with conspiring to provide material support to ISIS, a designated foreign terrorist organization, resulting in deaths in an unsealed criminal complaint by the U.S. District Court of Virginia.

Khalifa was one of the leading figures in ISIS’ English media which contributed to the radicalization of individuals through his English narration of ISIS recruitment propaganda, said Assistant Director Steve D’Antuono of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

Khalifa was detained by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and transferred to FBI custody.

Mohammed Khalifa, a Saudi-born Canadian citizen served in prominent roles within ISIS starting in 2013, a leading figure in the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham’s, until his capture by the SDF in January 2019, following a firefight between ISIS fighters.

Khalifa is alleged to have served as a lead translator in ISIS’s propaganda production and the English-speaking narrator on multiple violent ISIS recruitment videos Officials said.

This arrest is the first step in holding the defendant accountable for his alleged terrorist activity, which included serving as an ISIS fighter and an important member of the ISIS media bureau,” said Assistant Attorney General Mark Lesko, for the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

Productions by the ISIS Media Bureau during the time period in which Khalifa was allegedly a prominent member include videos or images depicting the beheadings of American hostages James Wright Foley, Steven Joel Sotloff, and Peter Edward Kassig Officials said.

Khalifa also narrated a series of recruitment videos entitled “Inside the Khilafah” that depicted various aspects of daily life within the Islamic State, featuring ISIS members encouraging potential recruits to join ISIS and conduct terrorist attacks against non-Muslims.

If convicted, Khalifa faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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