A British television network, Sky News, has reportedly obtained more than 22,000 Islamic State files that detail ISIS fighters’ real names, where they’re from, telephone numbers, and even names of those who sponsored and recruited the militants hiding in America.
Now, previously anonymous ISIS fighters that were laying in wait across the country and around the globe have been revealed to authorities, giving them an upper hand and sending the terrorists scrambling.
According to the Sky News report, the “key breakthrough from the documents is the revealing of the identities of a number of previously unknown jihadis in the UK, across northern Europe, much of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in the United States and Canada.”
The broadcaster said the files were passed on to them on a memory stick stolen from the head of Islamic State’s internal security police by a former fighter who had grown disillusioned with the group.
Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported it had also obtained “dozens” of similar files on the Turkey-Syria border, where it said Islamic State files and videos were widely available from anti-ISIS Kurdish fighters and also members of the Islamic State group itself.
Sky News reported that the documents are a collection of forms filled out by recruits when they were inducted into the Islamic State. The forms have 23 questions and include nationals from at least 50 countries besides the United States, Sky reported.
Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told the dpa news agency that the material would give authorities in both Europe and the United States a better chance to track down and prosecute people who had fought with ISIS.
The material also seems to have the potential to help authorities crack recruitment networks in Western Europe and elsewhere that have been sending fighters to join the Islamic State group, which has seized large swaths of land in Syria and Iraq and declared a self-styled caliphate on the territory under its control.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.