German rapper-turned-ISIS member Deso Dogg, who once seduced an FBI translator, is believed to be dead after a recent airstrike in Syria.
Denis Cuspert, also known by stage name Deso Dogg, was a hip-hop artist before becoming affiliated with Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He made propaganda videos for the group, including a 2014 video where he showed off a severed head for the camera and encouraged other Western youth to join him. He was designated as a “global terrorist” by the US State Department in 2015.
On January 17th, Cuspert was reportedly killed in an airstrike in Deir Ezzor province. After his apparent death, photos of his body circulated on social media, with a caption mentioning when and where he had died. According to the SITE investigation group, which monitors the online activity of extremist organizations, these photos are thought to be circulated by the pro-ISIS Wafa Media Foundation.
German officials who have seen the photos are fairly certain that the body is that of Cuspert, and a close friend of his agreed. In encrypted messages exchanged with The Washington Post, a close friend of Cuspert’s said he recognized certain physical features in the released photos. “The ears look very much like Abu Talha’s,” this friend said in encrypted messages with the Washington post, using Cuspert’s fighting name, “and also some of the scars in the face of the person in the photograph look like the ones I know he had.”
But not everyone is convinced that Cuspert is actually dead. He has been reported dead several times previously, most famously in 2015, and there has still been no confirmation of his death from the US-led military coalition in the area. And Charlie Winter, who studies ISIL propaganda at King’s College, told the Telegraph that it is “unusual” for an elegy to be posted with photos of fallen fighters.
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