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HomeEditorialWith Hamza’s killing is it the end of Laden’s terror empire?

With Hamza’s killing is it the end of Laden’s terror empire?

US President Donald Trump confirmed news that Hamza bin Laden, the son and designated heir of Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, was killed in a counter-terrorism operation along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. US media reported in early August, citing intelligence officials, that the younger Bin Laden had been killed sometime in the last two years in an operation that involved the United States. Hamza was 15th of Osama bin Laden’s 20 children and a son of his third wife. He was emerging as a leader in the Al-Qaeda franchise. There was $1 million bounty on his head in February 2019 — perhaps after his actual demise. Hamza was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 1989. In March 2003, it was claimed that Hamza and his brother Saad bin Laden had been wounded and captured in Ribat, Afghanistan. This claim eventually proved false. Hamza married a daughter of Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah when he was 17 years old. In August 2018, The Guardian quoted Hamza’s uncles as saying he had married a daughter of 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta. However, Hamza’s brother Omar bin Laden denied the report. In a 2005 video titled The Mujahideen of Waziristan, Hamza is shown participating in an al-Qaeda assault on Pakistani security forces in the South Waziristan tribal region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. In September 2007, it was reported that he was again in the tribal belt that encompasses the Pakistan/Afghanistan border region taking a senior role with Al-Qaeda forces.

In July, 2008, a translation of a poem written by Hamza was made available, which had been published on an extremist Islamic website. In the poem Hamza 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. Hamza bin Laden was implicated in the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. However, according to an interrogation of former al-Qaeda spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Hamza was under house arrest in Iran when Bhutto was assassinated and was not released until 2010.

On August 14, 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. In the recent past, Jihad or service to Allah is taken as violence.

It was reported on May 11, 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 Mujahideen,” 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.

In July 2016, media reported that he had issued an audio message threatening the United States in revenge for his father’s death. 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 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. In May 2017, a recording by Hamza bin Laden was published by As-Sahab, encouraging terrorist attacks against Western targets. It is rumored he pledged allegiance to Jama’at Ansar al-Furqan in Bilad al Sham in 2017. In the light of his growing influence within Al-Qaeda, the United States classified Hamza bin Laden as Specially Designated Global Terrorist in January 2017. This effectively put him on a blacklist aimed at restricting his movement and economic abilities.

In May 2017, a video was released in which he calls on his followers to attack Jews, Americans, Westerners and Russians, via lone wolf attacks using any means possible. On February 28, 2019, the United States Department of State offered a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to the identification or location in any country of Hamza bin Laden. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced on March 1, 2019 that it had revoked bin Laden’s citizenship through a royal decree signed in November 2018.

Hamza was the son of Khairiah Sabar of Saudi Arabia, one of bin Laden’s three wives who were living in the Abbottabad compound in Pakistan.  That was Osama bin Laden’s last home. 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. 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.

On July 31, 2019, The New York Times and other news organisations quoted unnamed American officials as saying that bin Laden, was believed to have been killed in the first two years of the Trump administration, which began on January 20, 2017.

(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on [email protected])

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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 14 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazine Beyond The News (international). She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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