Osama bin Laden’s Son Hamza Added to US Terror Blacklist 

The Al-Qaeda head’s son along with a leader of AQAP Ibrahim al-Banna were designated as global terrorists.

2 min read
In this image from video broadcast by television station Al-Jazeera on 7 November 2001, the young boy, left, is identified as Hamza bin Laden. (Photo: AP)

Son of late Al-Qaeda head Osama bin Laden was added to the US counter-terrorism blacklist on Thursday, in a move to keep them from using the US financial system, the State Department said.

The State and Treasury departments said they had designated Hamza bin Laden along with a leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) Ibrahim al-Banna as global terrorists. Hamza bin Laden was officially named an Al-Qaeda member in 2014 by his father's successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Bruce Reidel, an analyst with the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, has called Hamza bin Laden the "new face for Al-Qaeda" and "an articulate and dangerous enemy".

Al-Banna is a senior member of AQAP who has served as the group's security chief and has provided military and security advice to AQAP leaders, the State Department said.

The State Department says the younger Laden — in a 2015 audio message — called for acts of terrorism in Western capitals and threatened to take revenge against the United States for his father’s killing. In an audio message last year, he threatened revenge against the US and warned Americans they would be targeted at home and abroad.

Hamza bin Laden also has called for lone wolf, or solo-operative, attacks against US, French, and Israeli interests in Washington, Paris and Tel Aviv. He also urged Saudi tribes to unite with AQAP in Yemen to fight against Saudi Arabia, it said.

Any property owned by the two men and subject to US jurisdiction may be frozen and US citizens are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them, the State Department said. The designation is viewed as a powerful tool to deny them access to the US financial system.

Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces who raided his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011. Hamza bin Laden was thought to be under house arrest in Iran at the time, and documents recovered from the compound indicated that aides had been trying to reunite him with his father.

Al-Banna, who was born in Egypt, has described Al-Qaeda’s 11 September 2001 attacks on New York and Washington as “virtuous” and threatened to target Americans in the United States and abroad, the State Department said.

Before joining AQAP, he was a leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad in Yemen, it said.

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