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Islamic State document leak: Australian among suicide bomber applicants

London: A stunning mass leak purporting to be Islamic State membership forms reveal a would-be Australian jihadist was worried his poor eyesight and inability to operate a manual car could limit his ability to carry out a suicide bombing.

Documents which appear to reveal the personal data of more than 22, 000 foreigners from more than 50 countries signing up to support the terrorist group were leaked by a disillusioned member of Islamic State to both pro-Syrian opposition news website Zaman Al Wasl and Britian's Sky News.

The registration forms, if genuine, would be an "invaluable resource," said Richard Barrett, a former head of global counter-terrorism at Britain's MI6 Secret Intelligence Service.

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Sky's chief correspondent Stuart Ramsey said the documents were stolen by a disaffected former member of Islamic State called Abu Hamed. The files were stored on a memory stick stolen from the head of Islamic State's equivalent of the SS.

CNN reported one of the documents, which are in Arabic, cited one Australian man applying to become a "martyr" complaining of his short-sightendness and inability to drive a manual vehicle as possible hindrances to carrying out a suicide bombing.

The man, whose real name is not revealed, was reportedly a former computer engineer and had previously worked in human resources at a travel agency. According to the form, he is a Lebanese Australian and entered Syria after travelling to Singapore, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Turkey.

The documents also purport to show Islamic State's chilling application forms asking candidates if they want to become a traditional fighter or suicide bomber, for their Sharia law level of understanding, previous fighting experience, blood type and - in a section to be filled out later - date and place of death.

UK Home Secretary Theresa May would not comment on the specifics of the leaked documents but said Daesh poses a severe threat.

"The threat level in the United Kingdom is at "severe" and we have seen the attacks that have been perpetrated on mainland Europe over the last year," she said.

"That is why it is so important for us to work together to counter this threat," she said, citing restriction of firearms across Europe and data-sharing as two practical examples of where global co-operation is needed.

Fairfax Media asked if Australia had access to the list but a spokesperson for the Attorney-General's Department answered: "The Australian Government does not comment on specific security or intelligence matters."

There are reasons to expect Islamic State to compile such information and keep a close eye on recruits, in case of infiltration.

But the potential value of such a list to Western intelligence agencies willing to pay handsomely for information, and the grave risk to the person stealing it, given Islamic State's renowned brutality, has also raised some doubts over its authenticity.

"If it happens to be authentic, it would be a great intelligence bonus, but should be treated with great caution," said Middle East specialist Rodger Shanahan from the Lowy Institute.

with Daniel Flitton

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