Osama bin Laden’s son has vowed revenge on the west for killing his father and is expected to become the next leader of al-Qaeda.
In a new video, released just after the six year anniversary of Osama’s death (May 2, 2011) Hamza bin Laden offers suggestions for martyrdom-seekers in the West.
The video, approximately ten minutes in length, shows news coverage of people reacting to terrorist attacks around the world, like the fatal shooting of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey at an art exhibit last December, while Hamza talks about future lone-wolf operations.
Ali Soufan, who was the FBI’s lead investigator of al-Qaeda after the 9/11 terror attacks, has examined documents seized from bin Laden’s Pakistan compound when he was killed by U.S. Navy Seals in 2011.
The documents, some of which have been published by the U.S. in the last year, reveal communications between father and son. “I consider myself… to be forged in steel,” wrote Hamza bin Laden, now thought to be approximately 28. “The path of jihad for the sake of God is what we live.”
Intelligence also reveals, senior aides to the elder bin Laden tried to reunite the two men despite Hamza being held under house arrest in Iran.
Making his international debut last year in a 21-minute speech entitled “We Are All Osama,” Hamza bin Laden promised to continue the global fight fight against the United States and its allies. “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.
Hamza was at his father’s side in Afghanistan before the 9/11 attacks and spent time with him in Pakistan after the U.S. led invasion drove most of Al-Qaeda’s senior leadership there.
Hamza represents a younger voice for the group whose aging leaders have struggled to inspire militants around the world. It is also suspected his emergence will re-establish fundraising pipelines that have diminished with setbacks to the organization.
“Hamza provides a new face for Al-Qaeda, one that directly connects to the group’s founder. He is an articulate and dangerous enemy,” says Bruce Riedel, an analyst at the Brookings Institution.
In January 2017, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control added Hamza bin Laden to its list of specially designated nationals, a counterterrorism blacklist.