Abu Qatada
Abu QatadaReuters

Radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada, who is being tried in Jordan on terror charges, on Sunday denounced the beheading of U.S. journalists by the Islamic State (IS), AFP reported.

Speaking to reporters from the dock at a Amman courthouse Sunday, Abu Qatada repeated his condemnation of IS that controls swathes of territory in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

Asked about the beheading claimed by IS of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, he said, “Journalists should not be killed because they are messengers of the truth.”

He lambasted IS, branding it “a killing and demolition machine” and likened its fighters to “dogs of hellfire”.

Nevertheless Abu Qatada said he opposed plans by the United States to set up an international coalition to destroy the jihadist group, saying, “I am against any coalition opposed to any Muslim.”

This is not the first time that Abu Qatada has verbally attacked IS.

In July, he denounced as "void" the declaration of a caliphate by the group.

"The announcement of a caliphate by the Islamic State is void and meaningless because it was not approved by jihadists in other parts of the world," Abu Qatada wrote in a 21-page document published on jihadist websites.

Abu Qatada, who was deported from Britain in July 2013 after a 10-year legal battle, was acquitted in June of plotting a 1999 attack on the American school in Amman.

But he remained in prison, facing another terror charge of plotting to attack tourists in Jordan during millennium celebrations.