Hamza bin Laden

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Hamza bin Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden
حمزة بن أسامة بن محمد بن عوض بن لادن
Born1989 (1989)
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Diedexact date not known; sometime in 2017–2019 (aged 28-30) possibly died around May 2019
Military career
AllegianceAl-Qaeda
Jama'at Ansar al-Furqan in Bilad al Sham (Rumored since 2017)
Years of service2010s
Battles/warsWar 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[edit]

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.[1] 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.[2][3]

In March 2003, it was claimed that Hamza and his brother Saad bin Laden had been wounded and captured in Ribat, Afghanistan. This claim eventually proved false.[4]

Hamza married a daughter of Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah when he was 17 years old.[5]

In August 2018, The Guardian quoted Hamza's uncles as saying he had married a daughter of 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta.[6] However, Hamza's brother Omar bin Laden denied the report.[7]

Al-Qaeda activities[edit]

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.[8] 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.[9][10]

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.[11]

Hamza bin Laden was implicated in the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.[12] 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.[13]

On 14 August 2015, he released an audio message for the very first time. He called upon followers in Kabul, Baghdad and Gaza to wage jihad, or holy war, on Washington, London, Paris and Tel Aviv.[14]

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."[15]

In July 2016, media reported that he had issued an audio message threatening the United States in revenge for his father's death.[16][17] 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."[18] In May 2017, a recording by Hamza bin Laden was published by As-Sahab, encouraging terrorist attacks against Western targets.[19]

It is rumored he pledge allegiance to Jama'at Ansar al-Furqan in Bilad al Sham from 2017.[20] 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.[21]

In May 2017, a video was released in which he calls on his followers to attack Jews, Americans, Westerners and Russians, via lone wolf attacks using any means possible.[22]

On 28 February 2019, the United States Department of State offered a reward of up to US$1 million for information leading to the identification or location in any country of Hamza bin Laden.[23][24]

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced on 1 March 2019 that it had revoked bin Laden's citizenship.[25]

May 2011 raid[edit]

Hamza was the son of Khairiah Sabar of Saudi Arabia, one of bin Laden's three wives who were living in the Abbottabad compound.[26]

Osama bin Laden's last home, in Abbottabad.

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.[27] 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.[28][29]

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."[30] The same letter revealed that Hamza did not escape the raid because he was not even present in Abbottabad.[31][32] 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.[33][34][35]

Death[edit]

It was reported on 31 July 2019 that the U.S. had obtained intelligence that bin Laden was dead in an air strike.[36][37] 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.[38] According to one unnamed official, he may have been killed in a military operation targeting someone else.[39] The location was not revealed.[40] 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.[39] 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.[41]

His last known public statement was in 2018.[42] He was reportedly already dead in February 2019 when the State Department offered a reward for his whereabouts.[43]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Adam Robinson, Bin Laden: Behind the Mask of the Terrorist, p.271
  2. ^ "Bin Laden sons 'fighting with Taleban'". BBC News. 8 November 2001. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  3. ^ "Osama's Confession; Osama's Reprieve". mydemocracy.net. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  4. ^ "Bin Laden in their sights". The Sun-Herald. 9 March 2003. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  5. ^ "New footage shows Hamza bin Laden at his wedding in Iran". english.alarabiya.net.
  6. ^ Chulov, Martin (5 August 2018). "Hamza bin Laden has married daughter of lead 9/11 hijacker, say family". The Guardian.
  7. ^ "Exclusive: Tehran Sends Hamza Bin Laden to Afghanistan". Asharq AL-awsat.
  8. ^ "Hamza Laden is his father's true successor". The Times of India. 26 December 2005. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  9. ^ Ap, Fox (11 September 2007). "Bin Laden son Hamza rises to al-Qaida cause". The Herald Sun. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  10. ^ "Tentacles spread from Al-Qaeda's lair in Pakistan". AFP. Archived from the original on 28 October 2007. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  11. ^ "Osama Bin Laden's 16-year-old son calls for Britain's 'destruction' in new terror video". Evening Standard. London. 9 July 2008. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  12. ^ "Hamza bin Laden wants to keep his father's family business of terror going". The Daily Hatch. 11 May 2011.
  13. ^ http://kronosadvisory.com/Kronos_US_v_Sulaiman_Abu_Ghayth_Statement.1.pdf
  14. ^ "Bin Laden: Osama's son Hamza 'issues al-Qaeda message'". BBC. 14 August 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  15. ^ "Osama bin Laden's son and heir apparent has resurfaced after months of silence". The Independent. 11 May 2016.
  16. ^ Asma Alabed (10 July 2016). "Son of Osama bin Laden issues threat of revenge against the US". The Independent. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  17. ^ Associated Press. "Bin Laden's Son Threatens Revenge Against US". ABC News. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  18. ^ "Bin Laden's son threatens revenge for father's assassination: monitor". 11 July 2016 – via www.reuters.com.
  19. ^ Joscelyn, Thomas (13 May 2017). "Hamza bin Laden offers 'advice for martyrdom seekers in the West'". Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Archived from the original on 14 May 2017. 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."
  20. ^ Ghoraba, Hany (24 October 2017). "Can Bin Laden Heir Salvage Jihad in Syria?". The Investigative Project on Terrorism. Multimedia Solutions Corporation. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  21. ^ "State Department Terrorist Designation of Hamza bin Laden". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 3 February 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  22. ^ "Latest al Qaeda propaganda highlights bin Laden's son". CNN. 5 May 2017.
  23. ^ "Rewards for Justice - Reward Offer for Information on al-Qa'ida Key Leader Hamza bin Laden". DOS Rewards for Justice Program. 28 February 2019.
  24. ^ "Bin Laden: US offers reward for Osama's son Hamza". BBC News. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  25. ^ "Hamza bin Laden loses Saudi citizenship after US offers $1m reward". The Guardian. 1 March 2019.
  26. ^ Chuck Bennett (11 May 2011). "Osama's youngest son escaped capture". New York Post.
  27. ^ Harris, Paul. "Obama's Bin Laden coup risks becoming PR defeat". The Guardian. London: Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  28. ^ "The Bin Laden who got away: Was 'Crown Prince of Terror' the son who escaped U.S. special forces raid?". Daily Mail. London. 10 May 2011.
  29. ^ Dean Praetorius (11 May 2011). "Hamza Bin Laden, 'Crown Prince Of Terror,' May Have Escaped Raid (VIDEO)". Huffington Post.
  30. ^ David Ignatius (18 March 2012). "A lion in winter". The Washington Post.
  31. ^ "Osama bin Laden's son hiding in Pakistan?". Zee News.
  32. ^ "Osama's son may be hiding in Pakistan". The News International, Pakistan. 7 May 2012.
  33. ^ David Gardner (14 May 2011). "What next for Brand Bin Laden?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  34. ^ Christina Lamb (7 May 2012). "Iran double-crossed Osama bin Laden". The Australian. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  35. ^ "Bin Laden's son threatens revenge against US - Google User Contents- Trending Things You Search in Google!". www.googleusercontent.co.in. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  36. ^ Kube, Courtney (31 July 2019). "Osama bin Laden's son and heir, Hamza, is dead, U.S. officials say". NBC News. NBC Universal. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  37. ^ "Hamza Bin Laden 'killed in air strike'". BBC News Online. BBC Online. BBC. 1 August 2019. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  38. ^ Gonzales, Richard (31 July 2019). "Hamza Bin Laden, Son Of Osama Bin Laden, Is Reported Dead". NPR. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  39. ^ a b Martin, David (31 July 2019). "Hamza bin Laden, son of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda heir apparent, believed to be killed in military operation". cbsnews.com. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  40. ^ Karanth, Sanjana (31 July 2019). "Hamza, Son Of Osama Bin Laden, Is Confirmed Dead". Huffington Post. Verizon Media. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  41. ^ Rukmini Callimachi (1 August 2019). "Death of Hamza bin Laden Seen as Blow to Al Qaeda's Future". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  42. ^ "Osama bin Laden's son Hamza is dead: Reports". India Today. Living Media India Limited. Syndications Today. 31 July 2019. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  43. ^ Barnes, Julian E.; Goldman, Adam; Schmitt, Eric (31 July 2019). "Hamza bin Laden, Son and Heir to Qaeda Founder, Is Dead". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. p. 8. Retrieved 31 July 2019.

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