demonstration against Islamic State
People hold a banner during a demonstration against Islamic State (IS) insurgent attacks on the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, in Berlin October 12, 2014. Sign reading "Turkey finances ISIS bombs". Reuters/Hannibal

Denis Cuspert, a German rapper popularly known as “Deso Dogg,” has reportedly been killed in a US war strike in Syria. The singer earlier joined Islamic State forces and threatened US President Barack Obama.

According to US military sources in April 2014, Cuspert was killed in Syria. However, the claim was later retracted. The German rapper, whom the United Nations listed as an al-Qaeda supporter, later went by the name Abu Talha al-Almani after getting converted to Islam.

Cuspert was involved with a German pro-extremist group Millatu Ibrahim that was established by Austrian extremist Mohamed Mahmoud. Mahmoud later became a major figure for ISIS propaganda, CNN reported.

Cuspert was supposed to have turned 40 on Oct. 19. Two days prior to that, German terrorism expert Florian Flade claimed Cuspert had been killed in a pickup truck on Oct. 16. Now the confirmation comes from US authorities.

“I can confirm that an October 16 strike near Raqa killed Denis Cuspert,” AFP quoted US Defense Department spokeswoman Elissa Smith as saying. “Cuspert was a foreign terrorist fighter and operative for ISIL who used social media to take advantage of disaffected youth and potential Western recruits.”

Cuspert was one of the most well-known Western fighters fighting for ISIS. The Berlin rapper joined the militant organisation in 2012 and appeared in a number of propaganda videos for the group. He appeared in a video in November 2014, where he seemed to be holding a severed head of a man who had been killed for opposing ISIS, he claimed.

In addition to threatening President Obama, Cuspert also threatened the people of Germany and the United States as well. He tried provoking Western Muslims to carry out attacks, Smith added.

The German rapper pledged allegiance to ISIS mastermind Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and became a major recruiter of German fighters. However, according to a US defence official, he was “not considered a high-value target (and) we were not specifically targeting him.”

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