A former member of the Islamic State (ISIS) gave up a stolen memory stick containing the lists of 22,000 foreigners fighting for the terrorist group in Syria from more than 50 countries.
The Islamic State (ISIS) defector, who identified himself as Abu Hamed decided to hand over the files to Stuart Ramsay, chief correspondent of Sky News. Hamed defected after becoming disillusioned with his leaders because the Islamic rules he believed in totally collapsed within the organization.
Hamed said he stole the files from the head of the internal security force of the Islamic State, which has been taken over by the Iraqi Baath Party of Saddam Hussein. He was a former Free Syrian Army converted to the terrorist group.
Sky News informed British authorities about the documents.
The memory stick contains the names of Islamic State supporters, their families, telephone numbers and other details including their areas of expertise and the names of those who recommended them to the terrorist group.
According to Sky News, one of the files marked “Martyrs” contains details regarding a group of Islamic State members who were trained and willing to carry out suicide attacks.
A goldmine of information to fight Islamic State
Richard Barrett, a former head of global counter-terrorism at the MI6 Secret Intelligence Service of Britain told Sky News that the data from the memory stick was “a fantastic coup” in the fight against Islamic State.
“It will be an absolute goldmine of information of enormous significance and interest to very many people, particularly the security and intelligence services,” said Barrett.
Germany also obtained Islamic State files
A related report from Süddeutsche Zeitung indicated Germany obtained highly-sensitive documents from the Islamic State but did not provide details about its contents. The media entity reported that the documents included the names and addresses of thousands of fighters and their answers to a list of 23 questions.
German authorities also confirmed that the Islamic State files obtained and leaked by Sky News and other media entities were genuine. They are hoping that the files could help them prosecute the Islamic States fighters who returned to Germany from Syria and to prevent other Germans from joining the terrorist group.
Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said the documents “offer a great chance to provide evidence and to prove that Germans took part in terrorist activities of the so-called Islamic State.”
“It is good because we will be able to better prove these activities, speed and better clarify our investigations and come to stronger sentences,” he added.
Süddeutsche Zeitung along with public broadcasters NDR and WDR reported obtaining similar documents given to the Sky News from an anonymous informant.