Germany Nabs List of 22K Suspected ISIS Fighters
Potential 'law enforcement gold mine' reveals recruits from at least 50 countries
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2016 9:29 AM CST
In this undated image from June 30, 2014, ISIS fighters ride tanks during a parade in Raqqa, Syria.   (Raqqa Media Center via AP, File)

(Newser) – Germany is in possession of what one expert tells the BBC could be a "law enforcement gold mine": an apparent list of 22,000 or so foreigners from about 50 countries—including "a handful of Americans," per the Guardian—who headed to Syria to fight for ISIS, the New York Times reports. The list is said to include jihadis' names (real and assumed), former addresses, phone numbers, and names of those who supported or recruited them, per the AP, which adds that this could be the "largest yet treasure trove of documents found on [ISIS]." The documents also include registration forms recruits had to fill out before joining ISIS. Germany, whose Interior Ministry confirms it believes the files are genuine, hopes to use them to prosecute returning fighters or those already on trial, as well as a deterrent to Germans hoping to sign up with ISIS.

Perhaps as intriguing as the info itself is the person who may have handed it over. Although the Times notes the Interior Ministry hasn't offered details on the list's origins, Stuart Ramsay, a reporter for Sky News, says he was also given files, reportedly swiped from the chief of ISIS' internal security police, by a "disgruntled convert" who goes by Abu Hamed. Ramsay, who notes he met Hamed in a "secret location in Turkey," says Hamed claims ISIS has been taken over by ex-soldiers from Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, the group is moving its base to Iraq, and Islamic rule has "totally collapsed." When Ramsay asked Hamed if the files could bring ISIS to its knees, the deserter said, "God willing." Meanwhile, US Army Col. Steve Warren, who heads up the US coalition against ISIS, tells the AP, "If there is a media outlet that has these names and numbers, I hope they publish them." (Meanwhile, the US has ISIS' bio-warfare chief in custody.)