U.S. judge gives Canadian man life in prison for aiding Islamic State

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A U.S. judge on Friday sentenced a Saudi-born Canadian man to life in prison after he pleaded guilty in December to aiding Islamic State by working with propagandists who publicized the group's beheading of hostages including American journalist James Foley.

Mohammed Khalifa, 39, who grew up in Toronto and left Canada in 2013 for Syria, killed two Syrian soldiers on the group's behalf before his capture by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement on his sentence.

He was transferred to Federal Bureau of Investigation custody in October last year and pleaded guilty on Dec. 10 to providing material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, resulting in death, the department said.

His life sentence was ordered by Senior U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis of the Eastern District of Virginia, where his court proceedings took place.

Islamic State gained global notoriety after releasing videos in 2014 of the beheading of U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and of British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines.

Khalifa worked in the unit that publicized the videos, U.S. prosecutors said.

(Reporting by Rami Ayyub; editing by Grant McCool)

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