Adel Abdul Bary in court in New York on the far-right. (Reuters)
Adel Abdul Bary in court in New York on the far-rightReuters

The father of the Isis militant nicknamed 'Jihadi John', believed to be responsible for beheading western hostages in a series of propaganda videos has pleaded guilty to terrorism charges.

Adel Abdul Bary, 54, who battled extradition from the UK for 14 years before being sent to US to face trial in 2002, admitted three charges in relation to al-Qaida's bombing on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, wiping away tears in the dock.

"I arranged to transmit messages from media personnel to my co-conspirators, al-Zawahiri and Bin Laden,'' he said, reading from a statement. The messages contained threats to attack America.

Before reaching the plea deal Bary faced life imprisonment for the attacks, which killed 224 people.

Bary acted as al-Qaida's spokesman in London during the 1990s after being granted political asylum in the country. He was sentenced to death in absentia in his native Egypt, where he worked as a lawyer.

His son, Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, 23, a rapper from Maida Vale, west London, has posted a series of pictures on social media since travelling to Syria to fight for jihadist group Islamic State.

One of the pictures shows him holding aloft a severed head, and experts believe that he may be Jihadi John, the London-accented black masked militant shown beheading western hostages including US journalists James Foley and Stephen Sotloff and UK aid worker David Haines in a series of chilling videos.

Jihadi John
British killer of James Foley pictured here in the Islamic State's second video entitled 'A Second Message to America'SITE Intelligence

Experts using voice recognition technology have argued that the voice of the man in the video's matches Bary's, others though dispute this.

As a rapper, Bary wrote rhymes lauding his father.

"Give me the pride and the honor like my father, I swear the day they came and took my dad, I could have killed a cop or two," he said in one video.

Federal prosecutors said that they had offered the plea deal to Bary, as he had not been directly involved in the bombings, and had acted as a spokesman to disseminate al-Qaida's claims of responsibility for the attacks.

By admitting to charges included threatening to kill, injure or destroy property by means of an explosive and conspiring to murder US citizens, Bary senior could be sentenced to 25 years in jail, but could walk free in 10 years after spending a decade in jail in the UK.

The judge has declined to accept the plea deal immediately, and has asked prosecutors to set out in a letter why they are willing to drop more than 200 murder charges in relation to the attacks.