German ISIL rapper killed in air strike in Syria: US
WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
AFP photoA German rapper who joined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group and publicly threatened President Barack Obama was killed in a US air strike in Syria, a defense official said Oct. 29.
Denis Cuspert, also known by his artist name Deso Dogg, used to rap in Berlin and was one of the most famous Western fighters for the ISIL extremist group.
"I can confirm that an October 16 strike near Raqa killed Denis Cuspert," US Defense Department spokeswoman Elissa Smith said.
Cuspert joined IS in 2012 and went on to appear in numerous videos from the militant group, including one in November last year "in which he appears holding a severed head he claims belongs to a man executed for opposing ISIL," the State Department previously said.
Cuspert had pledged an oath of loyalty to ISIL group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and was a chief recruiter of German fighters.
According to Smith, Cuspert threatened Obama and US and German citizens, and had also encouraged Western Muslims to carry out ISIL-inspired attacks.
"Cuspert was a foreign terrorist fighter and operative for ISIL who used social media to take advantage of disaffected youth and potential Western recruits," she said.
ISIL prohibits music, but singing is allowed, and some of the jihadists' grisly videos are set to a vocal sound track.
Earlier in the day, a defense official speaking on condition of anonymity said that Cuspert "was not considered a high-value target (and) we were not specifically targeting him."
He also noted that other ISIL jihadists may have been hit.
Jihadist sources in April 2014 said Cuspert had been killed in Syria but they later retracted the claim.
Cuspert, who later went by Abu Talha al-Almani, was listed as an Al-Qaeda supporter by the United Nations.