US on Thursday designated Osama bin Laden’s son and Al-Qaeda leader Hamza bin Laden as a “global terrorist”. The State and Treasury department said they designated Hamza bin Laden and Ibrahim al-Banna as global terrorists.
The State Department said Al-Qaeda chief leader Ayman al-Zawahiri officially announced Hamza as an official member of the group.
Since his father’s death in 2011, Hamza has become active as an Al-Qaeda propagandist. The letters which were found in the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden’s den in Pakistan revealed Hamza wrote to the Al-Qaeda leader asking to be trained to follow him.
A CIA official who analysed the letters told AFP that Hamza wrote the letters in July, 2009 to his father’s Abbottabad residence and they had not seen each other for eight years. But Osama was making plans to groom his son to become Al-Qaeda’s leader.
The State Department order lists Hamza bin Laden as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist,” meaning that US citizens are forbidden from dealing with him and freezing any assets under US jurisdiction.
Due to this designation, all property subject to US jurisdiction in which Hamza has any interest is blocked and the US persons are totally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with him.
On July 9, 2016, Al-Qaeda issued an audio message from Hamza in which he threatened the US to revenge and warned Americans that they would be targeted in the US and abroad, the State Department said.
It stated, “In 2015, (Hamza) bin Laden called for lone offender attacks against US, French and Israeli interests in Washington, D.C.; Paris, France; and Tel Aviv, Israel.” It added, “Additionally, in 2016, (Hamza) bin Laden called on Saudi Arabian-based tribes to unite with al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen to wage war against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
The US also designated Ibrahim al-Banna, a senior leader of al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. He has been served as AQAP (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) security chief and provided military and security guidance to AQAP leadership.
According to the State Department, AQAP’s English online magazine ‘Inspire’ in its 2010 edition, al-Banna wrote an article in which he described 9/11 attack as virtuous and threatened the Americans in response to the US actions overseas.
He was a leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad in Yemen from 1996 to 1998 before joining AQAP. During that period, he was in-charge of the training and intelligence sectors for the group. The State Department stated, “Al-Banna is also subject to a US government reward of up to USD 5 million.”