RAQQA, SYRIA—Describing his recent conversations with the sociable and upbeat American teenager as “a really nice change of pace,” ISIS recruiter Ben Ahmed al-Fezzani told reporters Thursday it has been a thrill to talk to a popular high school student for once. “Boy, it’s been so refreshing to speak with a kid who actually has some stuff going on in his life and isn’t just another loner who only wants to talk about how no one understands him,” said al-Fezzani, adding that he’s been excited to hear the 17-year-old varsity point guard tell him about how his basketball team is doing or the recent dates he’s gone on, rather than the despair and lonely anger that has amassed inside of him. “And this kid’s not constantly sitting by himself at his computer reaching out to me at all hours like I’m the only person he can talk to. He has real friends he hangs out with. He actually cut one of our recent chats short because he had something to do on a Friday night. I wasn’t even upset—it was just so great to talk with someone who’s getting out there and having a good time.” Al-Fezzani admitted he would likely feel pretty bad if one of the teen’s alienated classmates, with whom he was making much greater progress on radicalization, ended up killing the popular student during a massacre on behalf of the cause.
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