Hamza bin Laden — the favored son of Osama bin Laden — has saved his picture hidden from the general public since he was a younger little one, regardless of taking up an more and more vocal position in al Qaeda propaganda in recent times.
But video launched by the Central Intelligence Agency reveals, for the primary time, photos of Hamza bin Laden as a younger grownup — the latest depiction so far of the person a resurgent al Qaeda might be grooming for a management position, one senior counterterrorism official advised CNN.
The video is a part of an enormous badortment of supplies seized throughout the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in 2011 and launched by the company on Wednesday.
The Foundation for Defense of Democracies is badyzing the movies and greater than 500,000 different information launched by the CIA.
Wearing a white gown with gold trim, Hamza is seen at instances smiling sheepishly as kids hover out and in of the body.
Officials mentioned the photographs are from his wedding ceremony, which is believed to have taken place earlier than 2009 in Iran.
“In the video, Hamza is being married to the daughter of a senior al Qaeda leader,” in keeping with Bill Roggio of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “Osama bin Laden, in his documents, is very interested in the growth of Hamza as a young man.”
Osama bin Laden was in hiding on the time of his son’s wedding ceremony, however badysts advised CNN that he was very wanting to see the video and made certain that senior al Qaeda members have been in attendance.
Hamza bin Laden was launched to militant audiences as a toddler — usually featured in al Qaeda propaganda movies holding his father’s automated rifle, studying a poem or partaking in militant coaching with different younger boys. He is now believed to be in his mid- to late 20s.
Al Qaeda has more and more known as upon the son to badist unfold their propaganda message in recent times, however regardless of indications that Hamza bin Laden’s profile throughout the terrorist group was on the rise, his picture has been hidden from public view — till now.
US officers mentioned Hamza was at his father’s aspect proper earlier than and after the 9/11 badaults, however then went on the run — relocating to Iran with different members of the bin Laden household, in keeping with FDD badysts.
While he and his household have been initially welcomed into Iran after 9/11, their presence quickly turned some extent of stress between al Qaeda and the Iranian regime.
Hamza studied al Qaeda’s militant ideology whereas below home arrest in Iran after the 9/11 terror badaults, Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent who tracked al Qaeda, advised CNN earlier this 12 months.
In one letter to his father, he mentioned he was “forged from steel,”and able to “march with the armies of the Muajahadeen,” Soufan added.
Earlier this 12 months, Hamza launched a 10-minute audio message calling on followers to badault Jews, Americans, Westerners and even Russians, in lone-wolf-style badaults, utilizing no matter means are simply accessible.
“If you are able to pick up a firearm, well and good; if not, the options are many,” the voice says, in a video obtained by SITE Intelligence Group.
“He has been trying to copy his dad, the tone of his dad, and also to copy and repeat the messages and terminologies used by his dad in the past,” Soufan advised CNN on the time of the recording’s launch.
“Hamza at this point is being prepared for senior leadership in al Qaeda, to play a role down the road in leading the organization, and probably in unifying the global jihadi movement,” he mentioned. “He had a lot of charisma, and he had enormous public-speaking abilities at a very young age.”
A senior US counterterrorism official advised CNN that al Qaeda might be grooming Hamza for future management roles and a few badysts mentioned he could also be in line to change into the phobia group’s subsequent chief.
“Because he is Bin Laden’s preferred son. Because he has the right name,” mentioned Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “He’s got the blood in his veins.”
Previously reported paperwork recovered after the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan in 2011 confirmed that Osama bin Laden wished his son to affix him, a US counter-terrorism official advised CNN earlier this 12 months.
But by the point of the raid, the 2 had not been reunited — though Hamza’s brother, Khalid, was on the compound, and was killed together with their father.
Al Qaeda has usually been overshadowed by the brutality and shock worth of ISIS in recent times, however US officers have mentioned they’re nonetheless a potent and sturdy group, even because it has change into extra dispersed all through the Middle East.
The terror group has expanded into war-torn international locations like Syria, Somalia, Yemen and Libya.