BERLIN  - A German court jailed a Syrian-born Islamic militant for five years Thursday for posting jihadist propaganda on the Internet aimed at fishing for new members for Al-Qaeda. The higher regional court in Koblenz, western Germany said it convicted the 26-year-old defendant identified only as Hussam S. on 44 counts of recruiting for “foreign terrorist networks” from September 2007 to December 2009. He was also found guilty of two counts of supporting foreign terrorist groups, the court said in a statement. “He released 44 publications online calling for participation in violent jihad by Al-Qaeda,” it said.

“The evaluation of the Internet postings found that the defendant not only called for armed jihad against foreign troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in particular but for the violent spread of Islam around the world.”

The court said he had published German-language propaganda online, much of it translated from audio and video messages by leading Al-Qaeda operatives.

In two cases, he posted a video showing the beheading of a US citizen used as promotional material by Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Hussam S. was arrested in July 2010 in the western German town of Montabaur. He was born in Syria and is of Palestinian origin but stateless.

He has lived in Germany since 1990 and was registered as a student.

The jail sentence came close to the demand of federal prosecutors, who had called for five years and six months imprisonment.

The defendant did not address the court during his trial and his lawyers said the case against him was flawed without specifically calling for his acquittal.

On Monday, an alleged Islamic militant held for nine months in Afghanistan whose tips helped spark a travel alert in Europe in 2010 over potential attacks went on trial before the same court.

German authorities say the country is home to a large and dangerous Islamic militant scene and have repeatedly raised the security alert level over the threat of attacks.

In February, a court sentenced a man from Kosovo to life in prison for killing two US soldiers and attempting to kill three more at Frankfurt airport last March in what was called Germany’s first deadly jihadist attack.