Is Osama bin Laden’s Son, Hamza bin Laden, the Future Leader of al-Qaeda?

Bin Laden hoped his son Hamza would eventually succeed him (file image)
Bin Laden hoped his son Hamza would eventually succeed him (file image)
The younger Bin Laden appears in audio message calling on all Syrian jihadist groups to unite and ‘liberate Palestine’

Osama bin Laden’s son and heir apparent has resurfaced in an audio message after many months of silence, prompting renewed speculation over the leadership of al-Qaeda.

Hamza bin Laden, understood to be 23 or 24 years old, was not found among the bodies after the 2011 CIA raid on the compound in Pakistan housing the world’s most-wanted terrorist.

His whereabouts now are unknown, but some experts believe he is being carefully stage-managed by al-Qaeda’s leadership to one day take over his father’s role.

In the undated message, released by the militant group’s media wing, the younger Bin Laden calls on all the jihadist groups of Syria to unite and use the country’s conflict as a springboard to “liberate Palestine”.

His message echoes another released one day before from the current leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who appeared to praise the work of the group’s affiliate in Syria — Jabhat al-Nusra.

Both call for unity among the warring Islamist groups of Syria, despite the al-Qaeda offshoot’s ideological clashes with the Islamic State — also known as ISIL or ISIS , its more media-savvy rival.

According to the Site Intelligence monitoring group, Bin Laden’s message largely focusses on Israel, who alongside the US represented al-Qaeda’s favoured target under Osama.

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 mujahedeen,” 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.”

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SOURCE: The Independent
Adam Withnall