A failed French rapper who joined the Islamic State was targeted in a recent U.S. air strike, according to a Pentagon spokesman.
Rachid Kassim, a 29-year-old Frenchman of Algerian background, was targeted in a U.S. air strike sometime last week, according to Maj. Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway.
“We are currently assessing the results of that strike and will provide more information when it becomes available,” said Rankine-Galloway Friday.
Agence France-Presse reported he was killed on Wednesday, but U.S. officials are still investigating.
Kassim, the artist formerly known as L’Oranais, left his failed rap career in 2015 and traveled to Syria to join ISIS. He spent most of his childhood years in France, but previously told George Washington University fellow Amarnath Amarasingam in an interview that he lived briefly in Oran, an Algerian city from which he derived his stage name.
The former rapper-turned-terrorist was apparently much more effective as a terrorist than a music artist, becoming a well-known ISIS recruiter. He used the encrypted messaging app Telegram to encourage attacks in Europe, and was reportedly tied to the murders of a French couple in June and a French priest in July. He may also have been linked to a failed car bomb attack on the famous Notre Dame cathedral in Paris in September.
Kassim justified his support of terrorist attacks as retaliation against the West.
“France is targeting hospitals, targeting civilians,” Kassim said in the interview with Amarasingam. “They suffer every day under France and Europe’s bombardments. Violence did not originate from us. France and the USA started the killings. Once they stop, we’ll stop.”
Kassim noted he was “very proud” of the terrorists who killed the French couple and priest, noting that they are “role models and heroes.”
Shortly after the Bastille day attack that killed 86 people in Nice, France, ISIS featured Kassim in a propaganda video, where he threatened French President Francois Hollande and beheaded two captives.
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