The identities of 22,000 ISIS recruits worldwide have been revealed in a massive documents leak that includes questionnaires a would-be jihadist must answer giving details like nationality, blood type and “previous jihad experience”, media reports said on Thursday.
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The top secret cache of files was obtained by German intelligence and is said to have been taken from ISIS internal security police by a former Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) member who later became disillusioned with the group.
The information was reportedly included in forms featuring 23 questions which new recruits had to fill out in order to be accepted into the group.
Security services around the world are believed to be examining the files, believed to contain names, addresses and family contacts of the 22,000 fighters, including around 16 British recruits.
German federal police said today they believe the leaked ISIS registration files are very likely to be genuine.
“What’s important now is that the authorities can look at how this information can be used in the fight against Daesh and if it can then we would welcome that,” British Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokeswoman told reporters.
Copies of the documents were broadcast by ‘Sky News’, reportedly obtained from a man who uses the name Abu Hamed, a former Free Syrian Army member who joined ISIS. He stole the memory stick of documents and handed them over in Turkey to a journalist, explaining that he left because Islamic rules had collapsed inside the group.
Hamed claimed the group had given up on its headquarters in the Syrian city of Raqqa and was moving into the desert.
The 1,736 documents, stamped with the black flag of the self-declared ISIS Caliphate, show that ISIS has recruited terrorists from more than 50 countries. It includes names of 16 Britons, four from the US and six from Canada, as well as recruits from France and Germany.
A spokesperson for the UK Home Office said they were “aware” of the apparent leak but said he could not give any further information for security reasons.
“Individuals who take part in the conflict in Syria or travel to ISIS territories are subject to investigation and should expect to be prosecuted on their return. Any evidence will be considered,” the spokesperson said.
The leak has been hailed as a severe setback for ISIS, providing vital intelligence on the war effort in Syria and Iraq.
Will Geddes, managing director of International Corporate Protection, a threat management company, told ‘The Times’, “They will be in massive crisis mode, worried about what is in there, who is in there and how it will disrupt their activities.”
The documents, thought to be from a border crossing into Syria, are questionnaires that each would-be recruit must answer. There are 23 questions, including names, date and place of birth, hometown, telephone number, education, blood type, any previous experience they had in jihad and whether they were prepared to be suicide bomber.
Richard Barrett, former global terrorism operations director at Britain’s MI6 secret service, wrote on Twitter that the records would shed an “invaluable light” on who had joined ISIS.
“This is going to be an invaluable resource for analysts,” he tweeted.
According to British police estimates, at least 700 people from the UK have travelled to support or fight for terror groups in Syria and Iraq and about half have since returned.