Trace of the Paris Attackers is to be Found in IS Data Leak

COLOGNE, Germany, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

In the files of the so-called Islamic State which emerged this week, names of several of the Paris attackers can be found. According to an investigation of German public broadcasters NDR, WDR and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the entry of three of the terrorists who participated on 13th November 2015 in the massacre in the French capital is documented: Samy Amimour, Fouad Mohamed Aggad and Ismael Omar Mostefai. On their entry into IS-controlled territory in the years 2013 and 2014, they stated that they wanted to become fighters for IS, although on the personal information sheet there was an option to become a suicide bomber.

Furthermore, in another section, the alleged leader of the group, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, is to be found, who apparently under his nom de guerre, Abu Omar Al-Beljiki, acted as a guarantor for the entry of another Belgian Islamist into IS territory. The entry sheet of Abaaoud itself, following an initial analysis, is not to be found in the documents.

Noteworthy is also an apparent wave of entry of French jihadists, who arrived together in the so-called Islamic State on 18.12.2013. On that day, at least 14 men with their families entered with the same smuggler and with the guarantee of a single Moroccan-born Jihadist. They crossed the Turkish-Syrian border. One of the group, Fouad Mohamed Aggad later was a murderer in Paris's Bataclan. 90 people died due to the attack in the concert hall.

Besides Abaaoud, French security authorities believe there was another man behind the Paris attacks, who is said to have been in Syria when they happened. Witnesses reported later that one of the gunmen attempted to make telephone contact with him while the attack was taking place: Abu Suleyman al-Faransi, alias Charaffe el-Mouadan. His entry form is also to be found in the documents and he also acted as a guarantor for several Islamists who wanted to join IS.

Most of the around 22,000 documents, which are in the hands of the NDR, WDR and Sueddeutsche Zeitung, mainly date back to the years 2013 and 2014 and were created by the so-called "General-border management" of IS. As there are numerous duplications in the material, however, the actual number of fighters recorded by IS is significantly lower. Following a first evaluation of the material, it appears to relate to a few thousand individuals, including more than 100 Germans. In 23 columns, the newcomers are asked besides biographical details, contact information of members, facilitators and guarantors, also for special skills and the activities envisaged in the terrorist militia.

The Bundeskriminalamt (German Federal Police Office), which is also in possession of such documents according to its own account, declared in a statement, that they were with a "high probability authentic papers". Previously security agencies had matched the details of those who had entered IS territory with the information already in their possession. The NDR, WDR and Sueddeutsche Zeitung have also subjected the documents to a journalistic examination. Among experts and terrorism researchers, since the announcement of the find, a debate has flared up about the authenticity of documents. While experts like the extremism researcher Peter Neumann of King's College in London and the Jihad expert Will McCants from Brookings Institute, believe that the documents are authentic, others such as the researcher Charlie Winter of Georgia State University in the US have doubts about the form template and the related symbolism. Dalia Ghanem-Yazbeck from the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut believes that the documents were not as perfected as other previously leaked IS documents. However, the sheer number of recruited people was impressive, she stated.

According to information from NDR, WDR and Sueddeutsche Zeitung, security authorities of several European countries also have access to parts of the internal IS data. The evaluation of the documents could now contribute to the investigation of the backers of Paris.

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