IS USB stick reveals ‘22,000 supporters’

IS USB stick reveals ‘22,000 supporters’

Kurdish Peshmerga troops are alleged source of Isis data. Source: Flickr

An apparently disillusioned ex-member of the so-called Islamic State has passed a memory stick of documents identifying 22,000 Isis supporters in more than 50 countries to a British journalist, it is being reported.

Germany’s federal criminal police said they were in possession of the same files.

Such a detailed leak is unprecedented and potentially allows the British and German security services to unmask militants who are threatening more European attacks similar to those in which 130 people were killed in Paris last November.

A man calling himself Abu Hamed passed the files to Britain’s Sky News network on a USB stick that he said was stolen from the group’s head of internal security. It includes enrolment forms, the names of Islamic State supporters and of their relatives, phone numbers and their areas of expertise and who recommended them. A file marked “martyrs” detailed Isis volunteers willing to carry out suicide attacks, Sky reported.

Richard Barrett, a former head of global counter-terrorism at Britain’s MI6 Secret Intelligence Service, said the cache was “a fantastic coup”. “It will be an absolute goldmine of information of enormous significance and interest to very many people, particularly the security and intelligence services,” Barrett told Sky News.

Sky said the stick was handed to its correspondent, Stuart Ramsay, in Turkey.

A selection of files was published in Arabic. The defector, a former Free Syrian Army fighter who joined Islamic State, said Isis had been taken over by former members of Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Baath party.

The recruitment forms on the stick included 23 questions about potential recruits, including the extent of Sharia learning, details about their journey to Isis and whether they were potential suicide bombers.

Raffaello Pantucci, director of international security studies at London’s Royal United Services Institute, said: “It seems a bit dated. Very interesting though and a real gift for researchers into understanding the group more. The key for me in many ways is how this highlights the bureaucracy of the organisation once again … like al-Qaeda, in fact.”

US Army Colonel Steve Warren, spokesman for the coalition against Isis, said: “If there is a media outlet that has these names and numbers, I hope they publish them.”

This would help bring attention to the problem of foreigners joining Isis and would help the authorities tackle the issue, the colonel said. “This would allow the law enforcement apparatus across the world to become much more engaged and begin to help do what we can to stem this flow of foreign fighters, so we’re hopeful that it’s accurate and if so we certainly plan to do everything we can to help,” Warren said.

Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said it had also obtained “dozens” of similar files on the Turkey-Syria border, where it said Islamic State files and videos were available from Kurdish fighters and former Isis fighter.

Estimates of the strength of Isis fighters in Iraq and Syria vary from 30,000 and 100,000.

Source 1

Source 2


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.