A ‘lone wolf’ with a motive. Update to this previous story.
An 18-year-old South Carolina man arrested last week on an ISIS-related charge dreamed of replicating the Orlando, Fla., massacre but decided he could better serve by joining the terrorist group in the Middle East where he could kill Americans, the FBI says.
Zakaryia Abdin, who formerly lived near Charlotte, was arrested Thursday at the Charleston airport, where he was scheduled to depart for Jordan.
Two years ago, when he was 16 and a student at York Comprehensive High School, Abdin and another unnamed suspect were charged with plotting to rob a gun store in North Carolina, then attack troops at military bases near Raleigh.
In his current case, prosecutors say Abdin had been conspiring online for weeks with an undercover FBI agent about his plans to travel to the Middle East to fight with the Islamic State, commonly known as ISIS or ISIL. Otherwise, he would commit a terrorist act at home, the FBI says.
Either way, his preferred targets were fellow Americans, a newly unsealed FBI affidavit says.
“I want you to place me on the frontlines just to fight Al Amrikan (the Americans),” Abdin wrote on March 14. “I will fight them until death, I swear, I swear, I swear.”
The next day, Abdin asked the agent if ISIS had any Americans the group planned to torture and kill on video, as it had with other captives. He volunteered to be the executioner, the affidavit says.
“I want to be the one to send the message because they will know who I am and I want them to see … Save him for me, ahki (friend) … It will be a strong message.”
According to the affidavit, Abdin, a resident of Ladson, S.C., at the time of his arrest, believed he was being watched and occasionally followed. If thwarted from traveling to the Middle East, he volunteered to kill at home.
At one point, he asked the agent if Omar Mateen, who shot down 49 people at an Orlando night club last June, had contacted ISIS leaders before his attack.
On March 17, he wrote the agent: “I swear to God … I was very close to doing what (Brother) Omar did (one month later) But I did not have weapons.”