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Canadian man pleads guilty to joining ISIS, serving as translator

Dec. 11 (UPI) -- A Saudi-born Canadian man has pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court to charges he fought for the Islamic State and played a key role in the militant group's recruitment efforts.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III of the Eastern District of Virginia accepted the plea deal entered by Mohammed Khalifa, 38, on Friday.

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Prosecutors said Khalifa traveled to Syria in 2013 and joined ISIS, swearing his allegiance to leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Due to his proficiency in both English and Arabic, Khalifa provided narration and translation for about 15 videos created by ISIS, some of which depicted scenes of violence, executions and attacks. In two videos, he's shown executing two Syrian soldiers.

During his time with the group, the ISIS Media Bureau was also responsible for releasing images and videos showing the slayings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff, U.S. journalists who were taken hostage.

The Justice Department said he fought with the group until 2019, when he was captured by members of the Syrian Democratic Forces. They handed him over to the U.S. government for prosecution.

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Khalifa is scheduled to be sentenced April 15, facing up to life in prison.

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