Isis terrorist behind images of beheading of journalist James Foley sent to US for trial
An Isis terrorist behind the video that publicized the beheading of American journalist James Foley has been airlifted to the United States for trial.
Mohammed Khalifa, 38, a Canadian citizen, was part of the Islamic State’s media ministry and recounted two propaganda videos used to lure Westerners into joining the terrorist organization, the US government said. The videos have also been deployed to urge others to engage in terrorism. Prosecutors said he helped translate and narrate about 15 videos in total.
Khalifa was secretly airlifted to face federal prosecution in Virginia, The New York Times reported. He visited Syria in 2013 and then joined the ranks of Isis.
A criminal complaint released by the Justice Department on Saturday said Khalifa was charged with material support for terrorism resulting in death.
Khalifa was captured in 2019 by the Syrian Democratic Forces, a militia led by Kurdish fighters with support from the United States.
The militia turned Khalifa over to the FBI earlier this week. The 38-year-old was born in Saudi Arabia and is said to be the first foreign fighter to be prosecuted in the United States under the Biden administration.
His first court appearance is scheduled for early next week. Khalifa was the narrator of a 2014 video titled Flames of war and his unit also published footage of the beheading of US freelance journalist James Foley and other Western hostages.
Khalifa “played an important role in the production and dissemination of Isis propaganda on several media platforms targeting the Western public,” according to prosecutors.
The terrorist said The New York Times in 2019 that he had no part in the violence committed by Isis, claiming that he “was only the voice”. But he also said he had no regrets stemming from his actions.
Prosecutors and the FBI claim he was a “prominent figure” in the Department of Media whom he joined in April 2014.
An FBI agent said he was “essential” because he spoke both Arabic and English. The criminal complaint indicates that Khalifa was in charge of the group’s “English media section”.
Court documents indicate that Khalifa engaged in fighting – throwing “grenades at opposing fighters” before being captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces, prosecutors said.
Alexanda Kotey, 37, who was part of the Isis cell of four Britons nicknamed “The Beatles”, pleaded guilty in early September to federal hostage-taking charges resulting in death, conspiracy to murder. US citizens abroad and conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.
The acting US attorney and one of the lead prosecutors on the case, Raj Parekh, said in a statement: in a horrific hostage-taking plan that resulted in the deaths of four US citizens, as well as the death of British and Japanese nationals in Syria. He agreed to spend the rest of his life in prison.
“The four American victims in this affair – James Wright Foley, Kayla Jean Mueller, Steven Joel Sotloff and Peter Edward Kassig – were journalists and humanitarians, pillars of courage and benevolence on the front line of a perilous conflict”, a- he added. “They risked their lives to light up the darkest corners of the globe and to help those who need it most. The values they embodied to the end are the antithesis of those embodied by the terrorist organization that murdered them.
Foley’s mother, Diane Foley, said in a statement that she was grateful “to everyone involved in the arrest of Alexandra Kotey, in the investigation of her brutal crimes against humanity and in the defense of his direct guilt “in the death of his son as well. like the others.
“As alleged, Mohammed Khalifa not only fought for Isis on the battlefield in Syria, but he was also the voice behind the violence,” Parekh said in a statement on Saturday. “Through his allegedly leading role in translating, narrating and promoting Isis’ online propaganda, Khalifa promoted the terrorist group, stepped up his recruitment efforts around the world, and broadened the reach for videos that glorified the gruesome murders and indiscriminate cruelty of Isis. [The office of the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia] and our partners have a long history of national security prosecutions, and we are honored to serve once again in this effort to achieve justice on behalf of the United States and the victims of Isis brutality.