SC man accused of trying to join terrorist group set to change plea

July 06–COLUMBIA — A Lowcountry man who authorities say tried to join a Middle Eastern terrorist organization will have a change of plea hearing, multiple news organizations are reporting.

Court documents say that Zakaryia Abdin of Ladson, SC is set to appear on Aug. 8 in a federal courtroom in downtown Charleston for the hearing, according to WCBD of Mount Pleasant.

The 19-year-old originally pleaded not guilty to charges of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS.

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SC man accused of attempting to join ISIS

Abdin allegedly communicated with a person he believed to be a member of ISIS. Abdin said he pledged his loyalty to ISIS in 2014 and needed assistance joining the terrorist group. Then 18 years old, Abdin reportedly spoke about wanting to take action like the 2016 Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting and “wanted to massacre Americans and fight with ISIS, federal documents say,” the Rock Hill Herald reported in January. Abdin reportedly told the ISIS member that he wanted to torture an American and would attack a U.S. site barring his ability to leave the country.

The person Abdin was speaking to online was an FBI agent in reality. Abdin was arrested by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force at Charleston International Airport before he could board a plane to the Middle East.

Abdin grew up in York, SC. When he was 16, he was arrested and convicted for a crime related to a plan to steal firearms and gun down troops at a military base. A parole board let Abdin out on parole a year into his sentence despite protests from the York Plice Department chief. Abdin was supposed to stay in jail until he was 21 years old.

If convicted on the terrorism charge, Abdin could face 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

This article provided by NewsEdge.