Hamza bin Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden (Arabic: حمزة بن أسامة بن محمد بن عوض بن لادن; 1989 – c. 2017/2019), better known as Hamza bin Laden, was a Saudi Arabian-born member of al-Qaeda. He is a son of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and, following his father's death in 2011, he was described as an emerging leader of the al-Qaeda organization.

Hamza bin Laden
حمزة بن لادن
Hamza Bin Laden at his wedding in Iran, c. 2005
Born
Hamza bin Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Ladin

1989 (1989)
Diedc. 2017/2019 (aged 27–30)
Spouse
Maryam Abdullah Ahmad Abdullah
(m. 2005)
ChildrenMariah bin Hamza bin Osama bin Laden
Military career
Allegiance Al-Qaeda
Jama'at Ansar al-Furqan in Bilad al Sham (rumored 2017–2019)
Battles/warsWar on Terror:

Early life and family

Hamza bin Laden was born in 1989 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 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 bin Laden 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 bin Laden and his brother Saad bin Laden had been wounded and captured in Ribat, Afghanistan. This claim eventually proved false.[4] However, Hamza bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders sought refuge in Iran after the 9/11 attacks.[5]

Bin Laden married a daughter of Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah when he was 17 years old.[6]

In August 2018, The Guardian quoted bin Laden's uncles as saying he had married a daughter of 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta.[7] However, Hamza's brother Omar bin Laden denied the report.[8]

Relation to Al-Qaeda

In a 2005 video titled The Mujahideen of Waziristan, Hamza bin Laden is shown participating in an al-Qaeda assault on Pakistani security forces in the south Waziristan tribal region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.[9] 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.[10][11]

In July 2008, a translation of a poem said to be written by bin Laden was made available, which had been published on an extremist Islamic Web site. In the poem bin Laden 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.[12]

Bin Laden was implicated in the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.[13] However, according to an interrogation of former al-Qaeda spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, bin Laden was under house arrest in Iran when Bhutto was assassinated and was not released until 2010,[14] or in 2011, when he and other bin Laden family members were freed in exchange for an Iranian diplomat held in Pakistan.[15]

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.[16]

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."[17]

In July 2016, media reported that he had issued an audio message threatening the United States in revenge for his father's death.[18][19] 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 bin Laden 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."[20] In May 2017, a recording by Hamza bin Laden was published by As-Sahab, encouraging terrorist attacks against Western targets.[21]

It is rumored that he pledged allegiance to Jama'at Ansar al-Furqan in Bilad al Sham in 2017.[22] In the light of his growing influence within al-Qaeda, the United States classified Hamza bin Laden as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in January 2017. This designation effectively put him on a blacklist which was aimed at restricting his movement and economic abilities.[23]

In May 2017, a video was released in which he calls on his followers to carry out lone wolf attacks against Jews, Americans, Westerners and Russians with whatever means are available to them.[24]

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 bin Laden.[25][26]

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced on 1 March 2019 that it had revoked bin Laden's citizenship through a royal decree signed in November 2018.[27][28]

May 2011 raid

Hamza bin Laden was the son of Khairiah Sabar, one of Osama bin Laden's three wives who were living in the Abbottabad compound.[29]

 
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.[30] 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.[31]

In a letter confiscated in the raid, written by Osama bin Laden and addressed to his "Chief of Staff" Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, bin Laden mentions his desire that his son Hamza would be educated in Qatar as a religious scholar so that he could "refute the wrong and the suspicions raised around Jihad."[32] The same letter confirmed that Hamza was not present in Abbottabad at the time of the raid.[33][34] Letters from the compound also confirmed that Osama was apparently grooming his son to be his heir, following the death of Hamza's older brother Saad bin Laden in a 2009 US drone strike.[35][36]

Death

On 31 July 2019, The New York Times and other news organizations quoted unnamed American officials as saying that bin Laden was said to have been killed in the first two years of the Trump administration, which began on 20 January 2017.[37] At the time, intelligence agencies were unable to confirm his death and, in February 2019, the U.S. State Department issued a $1 million reward for information leading to bin Laden's whereabouts.[38] On 14 September 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed that bin Laden had been killed in a U.S. counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. Other details were not disclosed.[39]

Afghan journalist Bilal Sarwary stated that bin Laden was most likely killed in Geru district in Ghazni province of Afghanistan.[40]

Maryam, Hamza bin Laden's widow and the daughter of the Egyptian high-ranking member of al-Qaeda Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah (nom de guerre Abu Muhammed al-Masri), was killed in August 2020 in Tehran, Iran alongside her father. This has however been denied by Iran.[41][42][43]

See also

References

  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. Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  4. ^ "Bin Laden in their sights". The Sun-Herald. 9 March 2003. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  5. ^ Goldman, Adam; Schmitt, Eric; Fassihi, Farnaz; Bergman, Ronen (14 November 2020). "Al Qaeda's No. 2, Accused in U.S. Embassy Attacks, Is Secretly Killed in Iran". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "New footage shows Hamza bin Laden at his wedding in Iran". english.alarabiya.net. 19 January 2018.
  7. ^ Chulov, Martin (5 August 2018). "Hamza bin Laden has married daughter of lead 9/11 hijacker, say family". The Guardian.
  8. ^ "Tehran Sends Hamza Bin Laden to Afghanistan". Asharq AL-awsat.
  9. ^ "Hamza Laden is his father's true successor". The Times of India. 26 December 2005. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  10. ^ Ap, Fox (11 September 2007). "Bin Laden son Hamza rises to al-Qaida cause". The Herald Sun. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  11. ^ "Tentacles spread from Al-Qaeda's lair in Pakistan". AFP. Archived from the original on 28 October 2007. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ "Hamza bin Laden wants to keep his father's family business of terror going". The Daily Hatch. 11 May 2011.
  14. ^ FBI (3 June 2013), Kronos US v Sulaiman Abu Ghayth Statement (PDF), p. 9
  15. ^ Goldman, Adam; Schmitt, Eric; Fassihi, Farnaz; Bergman, Ronen (14 November 2020). "Al Qaeda's No. 2, Accused in U.S. Embassy Attacks, Is Secretly Killed in Iran". The New York Times.
  16. ^ "Bin Laden: Osama's son Hamza 'issues al-Qaeda message'". BBC. 14 August 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  17. ^ "Osama bin Laden's son and heir apparent has resurfaced after months of silence". The Independent. 11 May 2016.
  18. ^ Asma Alabed (10 July 2016). "Son of Osama bin Laden issues threat of revenge against the US". The Independent. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  19. ^ "Bin Laden's Son Threatens Revenge Against US". ABC News. Associated Press. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  20. ^ "Bin Laden's son threatens revenge for father's assassination: monitor". Reuters. 11 July 2016 – via www.reuters.com.
  21. ^ 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."
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ "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.
  24. ^ "Latest al Qaeda propaganda highlights bin Laden's son". CNN. 5 May 2017.
  25. ^ "Reward Offer for Information on al-Qa'ida Key Leader Hamza bin Laden". DOS Rewards for Justice Program. 28 February 2019.
  26. ^ "Bin Laden: US offers reward for Osama's son Hamza". BBC News. 28 February 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  27. ^ "Hamza bin Laden loses Saudi citizenship after US offers $1m reward". The Guardian. 1 March 2019.
  28. ^ "Saudi Arabia revokes citizenship of Hamza bin Laden". Associated Press. 2 March 2019.
  29. ^ Chuck Bennett (11 May 2011). "Osama's youngest son escaped capture". New York Post.
  30. ^ Harris, Paul. "Obama's Bin Laden coup risks becoming PR defeat". The Guardian. London: Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  31. ^ Dean Praetorius (11 May 2011). "Hamza Bin Laden, 'Crown Prince Of Terror,' May Have Escaped Raid (Video)". Huffington Post.
  32. ^ David Ignatius (18 March 2012). "A lion in winter". The Washington Post.
  33. ^ "Trump confirms Osama bin Laden's son Hamza killed in U.S. operation". NBC News. 14 September 2019.
  34. ^ "Osama bin Laden's son Hamza was killed in a US counterterrorism operation, Trump says". CNBC. 14 September 2019.
  35. ^ David Gardner (14 May 2011). "What next for Brand Bin Laden?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  36. ^ Christina Lamb (7 May 2012). "Iran double-crossed Osama bin Laden". The Australian. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  37. ^ 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. p. 8. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  38. ^ "Bin Laden's son killed in U.S. operation, Trump says". BNO News. 14 September 2019.
  39. ^ "Trump confirms Osama bin Laden's son Hamza killed in US counterterrorism operation". CNN. 14 September 2019.
  40. ^ "Bilal Sarwary". 14 September 2019.
  41. ^ Goldman, Adam; Schmitt, Eric; Fassihi, Farnaz; Bergman, Ronen (14 November 2020). "Al Qaeda's No. 2, Accused in U.S. Embassy Attacks, Is Secretly Killed in Iran". The New York Times.
  42. ^ Jakes, Lara; Schmitt, Eric; Barnes, Julian E. (12 January 2021). "Pompeo Says Iran Is New Base for Al Qaeda, but Offers Little Proof". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  43. ^ "Pompeo Confirms Death of Al-Qaeda's No. 2 in Tehran Last August". Bloomberg.com. 12 January 2021. Retrieved 12 January 2021.