Teenage ISIS recruit Zakaryia Abdin eyed Orlando-style attack: Feds

(NBC NEWS) -- A South Carolina teen who allegedly tried to join ISIS less than a year after being paroled in a terror-linked case boasted that he wanted to carry out an Orlando-style attack, authorities charged in newly unsealed court documents.

"I was very close to doing what our [brother] Omar did," Zakaryia Abdin, 18, claimed in what investigators said was a reference to Omar Mateen, the gunman who killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in June.

"I was going to do the same thing one month later," wrote Abdin via social media, "but I did not have weapons ... so I saved and saved ... got weapons."

At the time, Abdin thought he was communicating with an ISIS recruiter — but he was actually talking to an undercover FBI employee, according to an affidavit.

When he arrived at the airport in Charleston last week to catch a flight to Jordan, allegedly to go fight for ISIS overseas, he was arrested and charged with support of a terrorist organization.

It was not the first time Abdin had been accused of terrorist activities.

When he was arrested as a minor in 2015, local law enforcement officials alleged he had been plotting to kill American soldiers in the U.S. and wage jihad overseas.

However, at the time, federal authorities did not bring terrorism charges against Abdin, who was instead charged as a juvenile with gun possession.

The York, South Carolina, police chief protested when Abdin was paroled in May 2016, calling him "one of the scariest people I have ever come in contact with."

Nine months after his release, Abdin purchased two guns and told the FBI he wanted them for hunting.

"Abdin stated that he wanted nothing to do with his past actions and claimed that he had completely disassociated himself [from] extremist ideology," the affidavit said.

But weeks later, he was fantasizing about a new life as an ISIS fighter in his conversations with the undercover FBI employee.

"I have good experience in close combat…I have taken gun courses," he said, according to the court documents.

"I want to kill and be killed. I run toward the enemy like a lion to a sheep."

He fretted that because of his past, he would not be able to renew his passport or travel overseas. In that case, he told his contact, "I am prepared to do anything you need here."

Ultimately, Abdin applied for and received a new passport and then bought plane tickets to Jordan — a process that was monitored by the FBI.

In a bit of foreshadowing, Abdin complained about the hazard of reaching out to jihadists through social media.

"We are more likely to contact an undercover agent than a real brother," he said, according to the court papers.

That's why, he said, he had bought guns.

"It is very humiliating to get captured," he said.

Abdin's current attorney did not respond to a request for comment. The attorney who represented him in the older case said he could not comment on the new charges but recalled his former client as a quiet teenager who had recently lost his father, wanted to visit family in Syria and "appeared kind of lost."

© 2017 NBCNEWS.COM


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