US & Canada

Rapper turned IS fighter killed by US strike in Syria

Denis Cuspert in Berlin in 2005 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Cuspert had appeared in several Islamic State propaganda videos

A US air strike in Syria has killed a former German rapper working for the Islamic State, defence officials have confirmed.

Denis Cuspert had been designated a global terrorist by the US State Department and had threatened President Barack Obama.

Officials said Cuspert, who encouraged Muslims to work for IS, was killed in an 16 October air strike near Raqqa.

He used the stage name "Deso Dogg" before converting to Islam in 2010.

"Cuspert is emblematic of the type of foreign recruit IS seeks for its ranks - individuals who have engaged in criminal activity in their home countries who then travel to Iraq and Syria to commit far worse crimes," the State Department wrote of Cuspert in February.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cuspert had been reported to be dead before, a claim later retracted

A spokesman for Germany's Interior Ministry would not confirm or deny his death.

In April 2014 he was reported to have been killed in Syria but that claim was later retracted.

Cuspert, whose rap career ended before he starting working for IS, would use social media to attract youth and Westerners, especially Germans, to the group.

Cuspert left his music career behind in 2010. Previously, he had toured with American rapper DMX in 2006, the New York Times reported.

In Germany, he became popular for singing nasheeds - Islamic devotional music - in German.

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