US & Canada

IS 'rapper' survived Syria strike, US says

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

An ex-German rapper who joined so-called Islamic State (IS) survived a US air strike in Syria in October, a defence official says.

Dennis Cuspert was declared dead by US officials last year in an air strike near the IS stronghold of Raqqa.

But a Pentagon spokesman announced officials had been mistaken and he had survived.

Cuspert, whose stage name was Deso Dogg, was designated a global terrorist by the US State Department.

Petagon spokesman Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway said in a statement: "At the time, our assessment was the strike was successful. It now appears that assessment was incorrect and Denis Cuspert survived the air strike."

Major Rankine-Galloway did not give any details on when US intelligence officials had learned that Cuspert survived the strike.

He added US officials would continue to target IS terrorists like Cuspert, who "work to plot, conduct or inspire attacks against the West and our allies".

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

The announcement follows a profile of the singer by The Fader magazine last month claiming that Cuspert was still alive.

German officials have never confirmed Cuspert's death.

Cuspert was known to use social media to recruit young Germans and other Westerners to work for IS.

He left the music industry in 2010, converted to Islam and became known for singing nasheeds, Islamic devotional music, in German.

According to US officials, Cuspert had also made threats against President Barack Obama as well as US and German citizens.

Mr Cuspert was previously reported to have been killed in Syria in April 2014, but that claim was also later retracted.

Related Topics