One of Osama bin Laden’s 11 sons has been placed on a US State Department terror watch list after he reportedly threatened terror attacks against the US.
Hamza bin Laden, who is in his late 20s, was named as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist,” which “imposes sanctions on foreign persons determined to have committed, or pose a serious risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of US nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States,” according to the State Department release.
The State Department said Hamza bin Laden had been anointed a senior al Qaeda leader by Ayman al-Zawahiri in August 2015.
He had since released an audio message urging “lone offender attacks against US, French, and Israeli interests in Washington, DC; Paris, France; and Tel Aviv, Israel.”
Born in 1989, Hamza bin Laden was said to be very close to his father and as a boy appeared in propaganda videos al Qaeda, the terror group his father helped found in the late 1980s.
Hamza bin Laden was missing for several years, but has re-emeged with a new audio message and analysts have described him as a “crown prince” of al Qaeda.
In the audio message, Hamza bin Laden calls on all jihadis to unite, apparently including al Qaeda’s increasingly stronger rival, ISIS, and urges them to ”liberate the Palestinian lands”.
Osama bin Laden was the mastermind of al Qaeda’s series of co-ordinated attacks on four major US targets on September 11, 2001, which killed 3000 people.
He was killed in May 2011 when US Navy SEALs raided his hideout in northeastern Pakistan in 2011.
— State Dept CT Bureau (@StateDeptCT) January 5, 2017
The State Department said Hamza “is actively engaged in terrorism” and “as a result of this designation, all property subject to US jurisdiction in which Hamza bin Laden has any interest is blocked and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with him”.
Hamza is the son of Khairiah Sabar of Saudi Arabia, one of Bin Laden’s three wives who were living with him in the Pakistan compound at the time of his death.
Interrogation of Osama Bin Laden’s surviving wives by Pakistani intelligence after the raid on the Abbottabad compound revealed Hamza was the only key family member not among those killed or injured.