A Canadian man, 38, pleaded guilty Friday to serving as one of the Islamic State (IS) group's more prominent English-language propagandists.

At a hearing in US District Court in Alexandria, Mohammed Khalifa, who traveled to Syria to join IS nearly a decade ago, pleaded guilty to conspiring to give material support to a foreign terrorist organization, resulting in death. The plea was accepted by US District Judge T.S. Ellis III, reported ABC News.

Some of the lectures of Anwar al-Awlaki, a US cleric who went on to become a leading figure in al-Qaeda, inspired Khalifa, who left Canada for Syria in 2013. He served prominent roles within Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) beginning in 2013 and continuing till he was captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces in January 2019, according a press release by the US Depertment of Justice.

Khalifa, who executed two Syrian soldiers on behalf of ISIS and served as a fighter, was also the English-speaking narrator on several ISIS videos and a lead translator in ISIS’ propaganda production. The propaganda team had made some gruesome videos that showed foreigners like US journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley getting beheaded, reported DW.

He narrated “Flames of War” in 2014 and its sequel three years later that were ISIS propaganda videos made to rope in Westerners to join the group or to murder Westerners as part of an international holy war campaign, said prosecutors. He also fought on the battlefield, was captured in 2019 and held overseas until he was brought to Virginia in 2021 to face charges.

According to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) affidavit, Khalifa said that he expected to be sent to an ISIS training camp when he joined the group, instead, he joined the organization’s media department because of his fluent English. He served as a leader in ISIS English-language propaganda unit for almost five years. As per the affidavit, Khalifa narrated several videos which showed prisoners being executed.

In one video, titled “Inside the Khilafah,” he tells listeners, if they are not able to travel to Syria to join the group, to instead “terrorize the disbelievers with your jihad outside the khilafah by targeting them and shedding their blood.”

He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 15 next year and he faces a maximum penalty of life in jail.

Representational image. Pixabay.