The United States is turning up the heat on al-Qaeda and Hamza bin Laden, the son of Osama bin Laden who along with his son Khaled was killed by US Navy SEALs in 2011. The U.S. is offering $1 million dollars under the “Rewards for Justice” program for information leading to the arrest of the younger bin Laden, specifically calling him a “specially designated global terrorist.”
The younger bin Laden was groomed for this position since he was born. He is believed to be about 30 years old today. Described as Osama’s favorite son, Hamza is one of 26 children the former head of al Qaeda was believed to father. He allegedly sought his father’s approval from a young age. He also asked to be named his father’s heir as the head of the terror organization he founded.
Hamza grew up in a very strict Islamic compound in Jalalabad, Afghanistan where he and his extended family memorized the Koran, while the men planned terror attacks and strategy. Despite this, Hamza was supposedly a fan of Western items that were strictly taboo in al-Qaeda circles such as Tabasco sauce and Coke.
At the time of the 9/11 attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, Hamza was believed to be about 12 years old. However, less than two months after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, Al-Jazeera posted an al-Qaeda video that showed Hamza and his brothers, armed and inspecting the wreckage of a U.S. helicopter.
Osama tried to steer his son away from being an active participant, but it is believed that he then attempted a terrorist training camp in Pakistan. Hamza then married the daughter of lead 9/11 hijacker Mohammad Atta.
No one is aware of where he, his wife and three daughters are living, but it is rumored that they live in Iran and are safely guarded by Iranian security and intelligence teams. In an interview with the Guardian last summer, Osama bin Laden’s mother, Alia Ghanem, said, “I don’t want to go through this again.
“When we thought everyone was over this, next thing I knew was Hamza saying, ‘I am going to avenge my father.’
“If Hamza was in front of me now, I would tell him, ‘God guide you. Think twice about what you are doing. Don’t retake the steps of your father. You are entering really negative and horrible parts of your soul.’ ”
As the younger bin Laden has been being groomed by the leadership to bigger and more prominent roles in the organization, he’s been more visible. He called on all Muslims to “take revenge on the Americans” for killing his father. His comments were made thru al-Qaeda as-Sahab Media Foundation in a speech last year.
Hamza told followers at the time that he rejected democracy, saying “freedom cannot be earned with worthless pieces of paper cast inside a ballot box.”
Al-Qaeda grew out of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. The resistance group, known by the U.S. as “mujahadeen” was a localized resistance group that was funded and armed by the CIA. However, many Arabs flocked to their cause, including bin Laden.
Bin Laden, the son of a billionaire real estate developer grew disenfranchised with what he called the corrupt Saudi government and U.S. interests and presence in the region. So, under his leadership, al-Qaeda began to call for attacks on America, their allies and of course, the Jews.
Al-Qaeda began bombing US troops in Yemen, the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, killing up about 300 people and injuring more thousands more. It was behind the suicide attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 U.S. sailors. Then bin-Laden’s charges were behind the hijacking of the four airliners on 9/11.
That put bin-Laden squarely on the U.S.target list. It took ten years, but they finally tracked him down to his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. It was rumored that Hamza was there with him but no evidence was found of his living there. However, his father had a video of Hamza’s wedding, which took place in Iran.
Al-Qaeda has been more active in the past 3-4 years in Sub-Sahara Africa, trying to take advantage of a power vacuum there as the Islamic State has come under increasing pressure by the coalition forces there.
Hamza urged Saudis to unite with al-Qaeda’s Yemeni branch to fight against the Saudi state and threatened to target US citizens abroad. Because of this, the Saudis stripped him of his citizenship and then the United States put the bounty on his head.
And his father’s old organization has grown to about 30,000 members which led the US Co-ordinator for Counter-terrorism Nathan Sales to say that, .“Al-Qaeda during this period has been relatively quiet, but that is a strategic pause, not a surrender,” he said.
“Today’s al-Qaeda is not stagnant. It’s rebuilding and it continues to threaten the United States and its allies… Make no mistake, al-Qaeda retains both the capability and the intent to hit us,” he added.