Jihadists' cover blown
Western intelligence services yesterday examined a potential treasure trove of leaked Islamic State registration documents, some of which the German intelligence service said were likely to be authentic, despite the doubts of many experts.
The information, which could help track down IS jihadists, was included in forms new recruits had to fill out, British and German media reported.
The documents contain details like names, dates of birth and phone numbers for people in Britain, in northern Europe, the Middle East, north Africa, the US and Canada.
Sky News said the documents could lead British security services to the identities of some 22000 current and former IS members.
While the UK interior ministry said it would not comment, a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said the government would "look at how this information can be used in the fight against Daesh," the Arabic name for IS.
"If it can then we would welcome that," she said, adding that the government had not been aware of the story before it was reported by Sky.
German federal police spokesman Markus Koths said there was "a very high probability" that documents are genuine.
"We are, therefore, taking them into account as part of our law enforcement and security measures," he added.
Fredrik Milder, a spokesman for Sweden's Sapo intelligence service, told TT news agency:
"We are aware of the existence of this list. Our security services have received such information," he said.
The German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, said the files would contribute to "a better understanding of the structures" of IS.
Richard Barrett, formerly a senior functionary in Britain's MI6 overseas intelligence service, said that the leak could be "an absolute goldmine of information of huge significance and interest".
Experts said that the documents would be valuable if authentic but they pointed out mistakes and uncharacteristic language in many of the forms. Charlie Winter, a researcher at Georgia State University, said: "There would be big alarm bells for me, because when I've seen inconsistencies like that in the past they've been on really shoddily made forgeries."
Possible mistakes are included in files documenting the deaths of IS militants, which use the words "date of killing" instead of the typical jihadist term "martyrdom".
Sky reported that a disillusioned former IS member had handed over the documents to the channel on a memory stick stolen from the head of the group's internal security police.