US counter-terrorism officials are hunting for Osama bin Laden’s alleged successor, his son Hamza, fearing a revival of Al-Qaeda.
By Mohammed Amine Benabou
Rabat – The Rewards for Justice Program of the US Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service announced on Thursday, February 28, that it would offer a $1 million reward to anyone who has information leading to what it called a “new bin Laden.”
WANTED. Up to $1 million for information on Hamza bin Laden, an emerging al-Qa’ida leader. Hamza is son of Usama bin Laden and has threatened attacks against the United States and allies. Relocation possible. Submit a tip, get paid. https://t.co/LtBVhsrwTc #RFJ pic.twitter.com/gmx5hkoSzQ
— Rewards for Justice (@Rewards4Justice) February 28, 2019
The US Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism also tweeted on Thursday: “Earlier today, the UN’s 1267 Committee designated #HamzabinLaden. As a result of the UN’s action, all member states are required to freeze his assets, comply with a travel ban, and enforce an arms embargo barring the sale or transfer of weapons”
The State Department says that Hamza is an “emerging leader.”
Bin Laden, the department asserted, posted audio and video messages online back in 2015 asking his followers to join him to “launch an attack against the United States and its Western allies” in retaliation for his father’s death at the hands of US military forces in 2011.
It also stated that, according to letters found by Navy Seals in Osama bin Laden’s hideout in in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the senior bin Laden was training his son Hamza to succeed him as a leader of al Qaeda.
The State Department noted that bin Laden is married to the daughter of a September 11 hijacker.
Michael Evanoff, an assistant secretary for diplomatic security at the State Department, said that Hamza could be somewhere near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
The UN Security Council made a press release saying it “approved the addition of [Hamza] to its ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions List of individuals and entities subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.”
The Security Council added that Hamza is “seen as the most probable successor of [Ayman] al-Zawahiri,” the current leader of Al Qaeda.
Nathan Sales, the US coordinator for counterterrorism, said that Al Qaeda is still a “problem” for the West.
He added that it may be taking a “strategic pause” while it “retains both the capacity and the intent to hit us.”