A prominent German Islamic State group fighter who became famous for his propagandist rap music was killed by a U.S. airstrike while traveling in a vehicle in Syria, according to media reports Thursday. Denis Cuspert, also known as Abu Talha al-Almani, went by the name "Deso Dogg" in the Berlin rap scene.
Cuspert was reportedly killed by missiles fired by two coalition planes near a gas station in Hunaida on the road between Raqqa and al-Tabqa, CNN reported. "I can confirm that an Oct. 16 strike near Raqqa killed Denis Cuspert," U.S. defense department spokeswoman Elissa Smith said, according to media reports. "Cuspert was a foreign terrorist fighter and operative for [ISIS] who used social media to take advantage of disaffected youth and potential Western recruits."
The State Department announced in February that Cuspert had been named as a specially designated global terrorist. He had appeared in numerous ISIS propaganda videos, including one in which he appeared holding a severed head."He appeared to serve as an ISIL recruiter with special emphasis on recruiting German speakers to ISIL," the designation said.
Cuspert, 39, converted to Islam and then traveled to fight Jihad in Syria in 2012. He was recruited by Millatu Ibrahim, a pro-Jihadi group in Germany founded by Mohamed Mahmoud, an Austrian jihadi. Cuspert was also listed as an Al Qaeda supporter by the United Nations. Rumors of his death have proved false in the past.
As Deso Dogg, he rapped "welcome to my world full of hate and blood" in a 2007 music video. After he converted to Islam, Cuspert "in a few years developed into a well-known German-speaking demagogue of the armed jihad," German intelligence officials said in a 25-page analysis.