Osama Bin Laden’s son attacks Saudi Arabia in video message as he 'spearheads al-Qaeda revival'

Some call him the 'crown prince' of the terror organisation founded by his father

Kenza Bryan
Tuesday 01 August 2017 16:58 BST
Osama Bin Laden's son featured in an Al Qaeda propaganda video in May
Osama Bin Laden's son featured in an Al Qaeda propaganda video in May

Hamza Bin Laden has accused the historic founder of Saudi Arabia, Abdul-Aziz bin Rahman Al Saud, of being a British agent, according to Arab media outlet Al-Monitor.

Osama Bin Laden’s 15th child and heir apparent has been active in al-Qaeda since the death of his father in a 2011 US Navy Seal raid in Pakistan.

Encouraged by setbacks faced by rival organisation Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, he is now thought to be spearheading an al-Qaeda revival.

“This is all about contesting who the legitimate leader of the Sunni Muslim world is," Colin Clarke, political scientist and associate fellow of The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism told The Independent.

“It’s al-Qaeda saying that Saudi Arabia has been a British puppet for decades, and building on the narrative that they are an apostate regime.

“Hamza is reasserting himself as an outspoken figure attempting to pick up the mantle of his father at a time when al-Qaeda is very much looking for leadership.

“They were shoved aside for years by IS but now as the caliphate crumbles, al-Qaeda is ascendant and looking to reclaim that mantle of leader of the global jihad.

“He points out that Hamza spent a lot of time in Iran over the past few years, a country that shares his hatred of Saudi Arabia.”

Hamza Bin Laden has released a number of threatening videos and audio recordings over the past two years, in a voice characterised by the Washington Post as “vintage Osama bin Laden”.

He offered “advice” for “martyrdom seekers in the West”, praised lone wolf attacks and called for attacks on Jews, Americans, Westerners and Russians in a video released in May of this year by As-Sahab, al-Qaeda’s propaganda arm.

In a July 2016 speech entitled ‘We Are All Osama’, he threatened the US with revenge for the death of his father, earning him a place on the State Department’s terror watchlist.

Hamza worked alongside his father in Afghanistan before the 9/11 attacks and spent time with him in Pakistan after the US-led invasion pushed much of al-Qaeda's senior leadership there, according to the think tank Brookings Institution.

Video footage from 2001 shows a 12-year-old Hamza handling US helicopter wreckage in Afghanistan.

More recently, letters found in the 2011 raid showed Hamza asking to be trained to follow in the footsteps of his Saudi Arabia-born father.

Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent who led the investigation into al Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks, told CBS news in May about one of the letters, which has now been declassified.

"He tells him that… he remembers 'every look… every smile you gave me, every word you told me'.

“He was a poster kid for the al-Qaeda…and for members of al-Qaeda, who were indoctrinated with these propaganda videos, he means a lot to them.”

Mr Soufan said that Hamzan uses similar terminology and sentences to his father.

Hamza was added to the US counter-terrorism blacklist at the start of the year, under a ‘global terrorist’ designation which prevents US citizens from engaging in transactions with him.

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