Saudi-born Mohammed Khalifa, a 38-year-old Canadian citizen, was captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces in January 2019 after a gunfight in which he was throwing a grenade. A DOJ statement said Khalifa was recently transferred to the FBI.
Acting US Attorney Raj Parekh for the Eastern District of Virginia called Khalifa “the voice behind the violence”.
Khalifa reportedly worked for nearly six years with the terrorist organization to become a foreign fighter after traveling to Syria in 2013 and worked in its English media section, narrating and translating for propaganda. In total, Khalifa translated and narrated about 15 ISIS videos, including some widely viewed violent videos titled “Flames of War”, the Justice Department said.
Steven D’Antuono, a top FBI official, said, “While many Americans are aware of the brutal and violent crimes committed by many ISIS actors, there is a need for ISIS to travel to Syria and radicalize people to commit violence on its behalf. The efforts were equally terrifying.” Washington Field Office said.
Khalifa talks about his decision to leave Canada to fight in Syria in a 2019 interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Company.
“I felt that if they knew I was going to go and fight in Syria, they would try to stop me,” Khalifa said in the interview according to the criminal complaint against him. “I had a normal life in Canada. I was doing pretty well for myself and I decided to know where I was coming from, knowing what I was sacrificing in the process.”
He told his family that he was going to Egypt, but later admitted he wanted to “join the mujahideen in the fight against Bashar and the Syrian army,” according to an email sent by federal officials in 2013 to Khalifa. Giving said.
This story has been updated with additional background information.
Credit : www.cnn.com