U.S. strike kills former German rapper who joined Islamic State

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 29, 2015 6:47 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former German rapper who participated in propaganda videos for Islamic State and sought to lure foreigners to the militant group has been killed in a U.S. airstrike in Syria, two U.S. officials said on Thursday.

Born in Berlin, Denis Cuspert was once a popular rapper known by the name "Deso Dogg." But he turned his focus toward militant Islam and joined Islamic State in 2012.

In one propaganda video in November 2014, Cuspert was shown holding a severed head he claimed belonged to a man executed for opposing Islamic State.

According to the U.S. government, which designated him as a terrorist in February, Cuspert appeared to serve as a recruiter for the militant group who focused on drawing in German speakers.

"Cuspert is emblematic of the type of foreign recruit ISIL 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 in February. ISIL stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

One of the U.S. officials said Cuspert was believed to have been killed in a U.S. airstrike on Oct. 16 along with two other individuals. Further details on the strike itself were not immediately available.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Bill Rigby)