The United States on Thursday officially listed a son of Osama bin Laden as a “global terrorist,” and warned that the younger man, who has called for attacks around the world, poses a risk to American national security.
The son, Hamza bin Laden, who has pledged to take up Osama bin Laden’s violent mantle and avenge his death, is “actively engaged in terrorism,” the State Department said, putting his age at 27.
Placing Mr. Bin Laden on the government list, formally known as the Specially Designated Global Terrorist list, gives officials legal tools to isolate him and hamper his movements and transactions. It is also a reminder of the continued terrorism campaign by Al Qaeda, which Osama bin Laden founded, and its affiliates, and of its aim to recruit and groom a new generation of jihadists.
Hamza bin Laden, one of Osama bin Laden’s 23 children, was named a member of the terrorist group in 2014 by his father’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahri. Since then, in a series of recorded messages, Mr. Bin Laden has called for attacks on Western capitals and warned Americans that they would be “targeted in the United States and abroad,” the State Department said.
Last year, in a video released by Al Qaeda’s media outlet, As-Sahab, Mr. Bin Laden pledged to avenge his father’s death, warning Americans that if they believed the killing of his father by American forces in 2011 had “passed without punishment, then you thought wrong.”
From a young age, Hamza bin Laden expressed an interest in joining his father’s terrorist campaign. As a boy, he appeared in propaganda films, and documents found after his father’s death indicate that the young man was being groomed for a Qaeda leadership role.
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SOURCE: NY Times, Russell Goldman