The Syrian spy arrested in Turkey last week by local security forces has revealed the true identity of Islamic State propagandist and fighter Abu Qaqa as 22-year-old Moss Side-born rapper Raphael Hostey.
It is reported the musician-turned-killer is known affectionately among his fellow terrorists as ‘al-Britani Afro’, on account of his upbringing and remarkable head of hair. Having abandoned his wife and child in Britain in 2013 to travel to the Islamic State to wage holy war, Hostey is fairly unusual among British jihadists in not having been killed in the intervening two years. Both of his friends, with whom he studied at Liverpool John Moores before they travelled to the Islamic State together have since perished.
Hostey has been injured in the service of the Islamic State but since recovered, and has been elevated to the position of a senior commander, again an unusual achievement for a European-born jihadi, who it is understood are often held in low regard by ISIS leaders for their ineptitude.
Using social media to get his message back to the United Kingdom, Hostey appears to have been influential in persuading other young people to join him in the Islamic State. He apparently has a special interest in recruiting young girls to become ‘jihadi brides’. On twitter he implored young girls to “come as soon as possible”.
Former neighbours who knew him as a child expressed shock at his new life, reports the Daily Mail, revealing that anyone who liked football as a child and supported Manchester United could turn to a life of violence.