A trove of documents purportedly from the Islamic State (IS) group contains the names of three of the men who conducted the November 13, 2015, Paris attacks, German media reported Friday.
Among the thousands of purported IS group registration papers obtained by German and British media were those of Samy Amimour, Foued Mohamed-Aggad and Omar Ismail Mostefai, said public broadcasters NDR and WDR and Munich daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
The three men, using guns and suicide vests, killed 90 people at the Bataclan during a concert by rock band Eagles of Death Metal in the deadliest attack of the bloody rampage that claimed 130 lives across the French capital on November 13.
Mostefai, a 29-year-old French national from a poor Paris suburb, blew himself up at the Bataclan music venue. His identity was confirmed using a severed fingertip found at the scene.
Amimour, 28, a former bus driver from the Paris suburb of Drancy, and Mohamed-Aggad, 23, from Strasbourg, also blew themselves up at the Bataclan concert hall.
In addition, WDR said the files contain an apparent reference to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who has been identified as the leader of the Paris attacks.
Paris attackers did not tick ‘suicide’ mission on forms
In the documents, Amimour, Mohamed-Aggad and Mostefai said only that they wanted to fight for the IS group when they arrived, though it was possible to tick an option on the form to be a suicide attacker, WDR reported.
It said that Abaaoud apparently acted under a pseudonym, Abu Omar Al-Beliki, to vouch for the entry of another French Islamist. An initial analysis of the documents found no entry form for Abaaoud, WDR added.
The documents also showed that at least 14 men from France crossed the Turkish-Syrian border on Dec. 18, 2013, with the same smuggler and were vouched for by a single extremist of Moroccan origin. Mohamed-Aggad was one of the members of that group.
Documents include names of women
The German research team said it had now obtained data on several thousand IS group members from a total of 22,000 documents, many of them duplicates, which were earlier also obtained by British broadcaster Sky News.
They contain the names, addresses, phone numbers and family contacts of jihadists who joined the IS group, as well as their blood type, mother's maiden name, "level of sharia understanding" and previous experience.
The fighters listed in the cache of documents came from across Europe and from the United States, Russia, Indonesia, South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago, the German media team said.
Some of the documents included names of women, but neither their nationalities nor their roles were immediately known, according to Shiraz Maher, a senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization at Kings College in London.
Maher, who has seen a bulk of the files, told the Associated Press that while it would be unusual for women to be recruited as fighters, women may have been listed as personal references.
"One of the key things about these documents is that they contain names of people who have vouched for the recruits," Maher said. "By cross-checking these names against the information we have already, we'll be likely to piece together a detailed picture of IS networks and how they relate to one another. And a lot of the information we've seen on the documents correspondents to what we have on our databases which leads us to believe the documents are authentic."
French officials, experts advice caution
Germany's federal police said Thursday it had access to the same type of documents and considered them highly likely to be authentic.
But some experts, including FRANCE 24’s expert on jihadist movements, Wassim Nasr, have urged caution, noting there were a number of inconsistencies that have raised doubts about the credibility of the files.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Friday also stressed the need to be "very careful" about the documents.
"We are extremely interested in information which would allow us to... neutralise terrorists but such information has to be authenticated," he said in Washington.
(FRANCE 24 with AP and AFP)
Date created : 2016-03-11