'Gangster jihadist' rapper who married FBI translator killed in Syria

'Gangster jihadist' rapper who married FBI translator killed in Syria
By Emma Beswick
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Known during his German rap career as "Deso Dogg,” Denis Cuspert has died fighting in Syria, according to reports.


German rapper turned ISIL fighter Denis Cuspert was killed Wednesday fighting in Deir ez-Zor province, eastern Syria, according to pro-jihadist media.   

This is not the first time pro-ISIL media has falsely announced his death but this time a network released pictures of his bloodied corpse, according to SITE Intel Group, a US company that tracks online activity jihadist organizations.

Who was Denis Cuspert?

Cuspert, 41, grew up in Berlin, born to a German mother and Ghanaian father.

During his youth, he was involved in gang culture and convicted of a series of minor offences for which he spent time in young offenders' institutes.

Rap career

Known as "Deso Dogg" in Germany, Cuspert, 41, released three albums before quitting music in 2010.

In 2006, he toured with US rapper DMX.

Support for so-called Islamic State

Cuspert converted to Islam around 2007 but became interested in radical materials after he was involved in a car accident in 2010.

He helped create an organisation in Germany dedicated to jihadist propaganda called Millatu Ibrahim (Community of Abraham).

After travelling to Syria via Egypt in 2013, where he went by Abu Talha al-Almani, he was labelled a global terrorist by the US in 2015.

The ex-rapper was an influential recruiter who appeared in propaganda videos, notably holding a severed head in one.

Marriage to an ex-FBI translator

Cuspert was briefly married to an FBI translator assigned to monitor him.

Daniela Greene, 38, who had top-secret security clearance, according to CNN, lied to the FBI about visiting her parents in Germany when instead she flew to Istanbul, then crossed the border to Syria in June 2014.

As well as momentarily being married to the jihadist, she also warned Cuspert he was under investigation.

US media reported that Greene realised within weeks that she had made a mistake and fled back to the US, where she was arrested upon arrival and agreed to cooperate.

The ex-translator was sentenced to two years in a federal prison on charges of making false statements concerning international terrorism.

She was released in the summer of 2016 and the BBC reported in 2017 that she was working as a hostess at a hotel.

Cuspert's death comes as ISIL has lost next to all of its territory in Syria and Iraq.

It now controls a few enclaves dispersed across the countries. 

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