German ISIS rapper seen in beheading video

2014-11-05 11:12
Former German rapper Denis Cuspert alias Deso Dogg posing for a photographer in Berlin. (Di Matti)

Former German rapper Denis Cuspert alias Deso Dogg posing for a photographer in Berlin. (Di Matti)

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Berlin - The German rapper Denis Cuspert, also known as Deso Dogg, has been identified in an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) video purportedly showing a beheading that was released on Tuesday by an activist group.

Cuspert is seen alongside ISIS jihadists who kill several men during the filming.

Some reports had said the rapper was killed in the Syrian conflict.

It is not clear from the video if Cuspert does any of the killing. But he is briefly seen holding the severed head in his hand.

The authenticity of the film could not be immediately confirmed.

The video was released by activists in the east Syrian province of Dair as-Saur who report on crimes in the Syrian civil war. The activists did not say when the video was made or how they got it.

The video shows the fatal shooting of one man and the beheading of another. In total, three dead people can be seen.

Cuspert says in German that the dead were opponents of ISIS.

"That's why they received the death penalty", he says.

Another jihadist says in Arabic that the dead were members of Syria's al-Shaitat tribe.

Committed Muslim

In recent months, the US state department has used Cuspert in its internet war against ISIS recruiters as an example of what happens when young people flock from around the world to the extremist group.

A counter-propaganda video shows Deso Dogg laughing and glorifying jihad as "fun" and inviting Muslims to join the war against the Syrian regime. It ends with a group of jihadists standing around Deso Dogg's purported corpse.

According to the Berlin branch of Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, its main domestic security agency, Cuspert appears to still be alive and working in the inner circle of ISIS.

He joined the violent jihadists in April, according to a dossier on Cuspert made public in September by Berlin officials.

Cuspert was reported to have personally sworn loyalty to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The 39-year-old Berliner now calls himself Abu Talha al-Almani. His main mission appears to be to mobilize radical Salafists in Germany to join ISIS, through German-language videos.

Cuspert's elevated position as a German-language propagandist of the ISIS gives him a "considerable capacity for reaching radicalised persons in Germany", Berlin intelligence officials said.

Cuspert was born in 1975 to a German-Ghanaian couple, and grew up in various neighbourhoods of West Berlin, but mainly Kreuzberg, home for decades to Germany's alternative culture scene.

He began his career as a rapper in 2002, expressing his personal experiences with discrimination. He has declared himself a committed Muslim since 2007, and had links to Berlin's An-Nur Mosque by 2010. In mid 2012, he moved to Egypt, then to Syria.

Read more on:    isis  |  iraq  |  germany  |  syria

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