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German Islamic State rapper 'killed in US strike in Syria'

30 ottobre 2015 | 13.07
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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A German rapper who joined the so-called Islamic State militant group was killed earlier this month in a US air strike in Syria, according to a defence official cited by American and German media on Friday.

“I can confirm that an October 16 strike near Raqqa killed Denis Cuspert,” US Defense Department spokeswoman Elissa Smith was quoted as saying.

Denis Cuspert, also known by his artist name Deso Dogg, was one of IS's most famous Western fighters and was previously a moderately successful hip-hop artist in Berlin .

According to Smith, 39-year-old Cuspert threatened Obama and US and German citizens, and had also encouraged Western Muslims to carry out IS-inspired attacks.

He was part of the "Jihad Cool" phenomenon - a push by IS and other jihadist groups to become more attractive to young recruits.

Cuspert “was not considered a high-value target (and) we were not specifically targeting him,” a US defence official was quoted as saying earlier on Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The rapper had pledged an oath of loyalty to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and was allegedly chief recruiter of German fighters.

Militant sources in April 2014 said Cuspert had been killed in Syria but they later retracted the claim.

Cuspert joined IS in 2012 and appeared in numerous videos from the militant group, including one in November last year in which he holds the severed head of an IS opponent, according to the US state department.

Cuspert reportedly convert to Islam after a near-fatal car-crash. Calling himself Abu Malik, he was by 2011 using YouTube to celebrate extremist figureheads like late Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Cuspert shifted his creative focus from rap to jihadist 'nasheeds', ballads of war that have provided the soundtracks to IS’s gruesome execution videos. IS prohibits music, but singing is allowed.

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