A disillusioned convert to ISIS handed out tens of thousands of registration forms detailing personal details of jihadists, such as their names, phone numbers, addresses and family contacts.
Certified by the German intelligence services, the documents reveal the identities of jihadists from 51 countries, including from Europe, North Africa and the United States. While the documents list many well-known jihadis like Abdel Barry and Junaid Hussain, they also expose previously unknown recruits. Finding their trace is crucial for intelligence services to breaking down the organisation and prevent further attacks.
Germany’s interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, said this information would facilitate “speedier, clearer investigations and stricter prison sentences” for those returning from the ISIS ranks in Syria and Iraq, he added it will help clarify “the underlying structures of this terrorist organisation”.
In possession of the materials, Sky News reported recruits had to respond to the 23-questions form in order to be inducted in ISIS. Many of the phone numbers on the list are reportedly still active, and it is believed that a significant number of them are still being used by the jihadis.
In addition to their personal information, recruits had to specify if they were ready to carry out a suicide attack. Those who volunteered were enrolled in the “Martyrs” brigade specifically trained to do so.
Moreover, the documents showed that many of the unknown fighter had passed through jihadi ‘hot spots’ like Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Pakistan and Afghanistan on multiple occasions to fight in Syria and return home without being arrested or even checked.
The memory stick containing the files was stolen from the head of Islamic State’s internal security police by a former soldier of the Iraqi Baath party of Saddam Hussein, who joined ISIS but was disillusioned by its leadership. Calling himself Abu Hamed he said “this organisation (ISIS) is a fraud, it is not Islam”.
MI6’s former global terrorism operations director Richard Barrett told Sky News that the files were a “fantastic coup”.
“It will be an absolute goldmine of information of enormous significance and interest to many people, particularly the security and intelligence services. There hasn’t been anything at all like this since the discovery of the Sinjar records in 2007 and that only covered about 700 people (ISIS fighters entering Iraq), all of whom were from Arab countries,” he added