Hamza bin Laden
Hamza bin Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden
حمزة بن أسامة بن محمد بن عوض بن لادن
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
|Died||exact date not known; sometime in 2017–2019 (aged 28-30) possibly died around May 2019|
Jama'at Ansar al-Furqan in Bilad al Sham (Rumored since 2017)
|Years of service||2010s|
|Battles/wars||War on Terror: Syrian Civil War|
Hamza bin Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden (Arabic: حمزة بن أسامة بن محمد بن عوض بن لادن; born 1989, died 2017–19), better known as Hamza bin Laden, was a Saudi al-Qaeda member. He was a son of Osama bin Laden. His father, as well as his brother Khalid, were killed in the 2011 Navy SEAL raid.
It was reported on 31 July 2019, that bin Laden had died in an airstrike. His death was seen as a blow to al-Qaeda's future. Two unnamed U.S. officials said the US government played a role in his death. According to one source, he may have been killed in a military operation targeting someone else in 2017 or 2018.
Early life and family
In January 2001, Hamza, his father and other family members attended the wedding of his brother Mohammed bin Laden in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar. Video footage shot in Ghazni province in November of the same year shows Hamza and some of his siblings handling U.S. helicopter wreckage and working alongside the Taliban.
In a 2005 video titled The Mujahideen of Waziristan, Hamza is shown participating in an al-Qaeda assault on Pakistani security forces in the south Waziristan tribal region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. In September 2007, it was reported that he was again in the tribal belt which encompasses the Pakistan/Afghanistan border region taking a senior role with al-Qaeda forces.
In July 2008, a translation of a poem said to be written by Hamza was made available, which had been published on an extremist Islamic Web site. In the poem Hamza wrote "Accelerate the destruction of America, Britain, France and Denmark." In response British MP Patrick Mercer dubbed Hamza bin Laden the Crown Prince of Terror.
Hamza bin Laden was implicated in the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. However, according to an interrogation of former al-Qaeda spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Hamza was under house arrest in Iran when Bhutto was assassinated and was not released until 2010.
It was reported on 11 May 2016 he had released an audio message focused on the issues of Palestine and the Syrian Civil War. He said the "blessed Syrian revolution" had made the prospect of "liberating" Jerusalem more likely. "The Islamic umma (nation) should focus on jihad in al-Sham (Syria) … and unite the ranks of mujahedin," he said. "There is no longer an excuse for those who insist on division and disputes now that the whole world has mobilised against Muslims."
In July 2016, media reported that he had issued an audio message threatening the United States in revenge for his father's death. In the 21-minute speech entitled "We Are All Osama", he said "We will continue striking you and targeting you in your country and abroad in response to your oppression of the people of Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and the rest of the Muslim lands that did not survive your oppression," Hamza said. "As for the revenge by the Islamic nation for Sheikh Osama, may Allah have mercy on him, it is not revenge for Osama the person but it is revenge for those who defended Islam." In May 2017, a recording by Hamza bin Laden was published by As-Sahab, encouraging terrorist attacks against Western targets.
It is rumored he pledge allegiance to Jama'at Ansar al-Furqan in Bilad al Sham from 2017. In the light of his growing influence within al-Qaeda, the United States classified Hamza bin Laden as Specially Designated Global Terrorist in January 2017. This effectively put him on a blacklist aimed at restricting his movement and economic abilities.
May 2011 raid
Interrogation of the surviving wives of Osama bin Laden by Pakistani intelligence after the raid on the Abbottabad compound revealed Hamza was the only person missing. He was not among those killed or injured. The raid conducted by the SEAL team was thorough: infrared technology, as well as ground troops, remained confident nobody inside the compound had escaped. There were no hidden exit tunnels from the compound.
In a letter confiscated in the raid, written by bin Laden and addressed to his "Chief of Staff" Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, bin Laden mentions his desire that Hamza would be educated in Qatar as a religious scholar so that he could "refute the wrong and the suspicions raised around Jihad." The same letter revealed that Hamza did not escape the raid because he was not even present in Abbottabad. Letters from the compound also confirmed that Osama was apparently grooming Hamza to be his heir, following the death of Hamza's older brother Saad in a 2009 US drone strike.
It was reported on 31 July 2019 that the U.S. had obtained intelligence that bin Laden was dead in an air strike. The report said he was killed sometime during the first two years of the Trump administration, and that the United States government had a role in the operation. According to one unnamed official, he may have been killed in a military operation targeting someone else. The location was not revealed. U.S. intelligence officials first learned about his death when Al Qaeda members were overheard discussing whether to keep it a secret; his death was not confirmed until 2019. The death of Hamza bin Laden was seen as a blow to the future of al-Qaeda, given the difficulty the organization would face with fielding another charismatic leader capable of drawing younger recruits.
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Hamza bin Laden, the son of al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, has released a new message offering "advice" for "martyrdom seekers in the West." Hamza encourages followers to lash out on their own, but only after carefully preparing their attack so they "may inflict damage far beyond anything the enemy has ever imagined."
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