A son of Osama bin Laden is emerging as a leader in al Qaeda. The UN Security Council has designated Hamza bin Laden, the son of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, under its sanctions list, subjecting him to a travel ban, assets freeze and an arms embargo as it described him as being seen as the “most probable successor” of the group’s current leader Aiman al-Zawahiri.
The US State Department says, and it’s willing to pay up to $1 million for information on his whereabouts.
Saudi Arabia also announced on Friday it had revoked the citizenship of Hamza bin Laden, the son of the late al-Qaeda leader who has become an increasingly prominent figure in the terror network.
The kingdom similarly stripped Osama bin Laden’s citizenship in 1994 while living in exile in Sudan when Hamza bin Laden was just a child. Where he is now remains in question.
Saudi Arabia revoked Hamza bin Laden’s citizenship in November, according to a circular by the Interior Ministry quietly published Friday by the country’s official gazette. State-run media in the kingdom did not report on the decision.
What is known about him?
Hamza Bin Laden, who is believed to be about 30 years old, was officially designated by the US as a global terrorist two years ago.
Bin Laden is believed to have been born in 1989, the year of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, where his father became known among the mujahedeen fighters.
His father returned to Saudi Arabia and later fled to Sudan after criticizing the kingdom for allowing US troops to deploy in the country during the 1991 Gulf War. He later fled Sudan for Afghanistan in 1996, where he declared war against the US.
As leader of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden oversaw a series of attacks, including the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, as well as the bombing of the USS Cole off Yemen.
He and others plotted and executed the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon, which led to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. US Navy SEALs ultimately killed bin Laden in a raid on a house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in 2011.
The US state department says he married the daughter of Mohammed Atta, who hijacked one of the four commercial aircraft used in the 2001 attacks, and crashed it into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York.
Introduced by the organisation’s new chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in an audio message in 2015, Hamza provides a younger voice for the group whose aging leaders have struggled to inspire terrorists around the world galvanized by ISIS analysts say.
He has called for acts of terrorism in Western capitals and threatened to take revenge against the United States for his father’s killing, the State Department said in 2017 when it designated him as a global terrorist.
He also threatened to target Americans abroad and urged Saudi tribes to unite with Yemen’s Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to fight against Saudi Arabia, it said.
Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. special forces who raided his compound in Pakistan in 2011. Hamza was thought to be under house arrest in Iran at the time, and documents recovered from the compound indicated that aides had been trying to reunite him with his father.
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