Hamza bin Laden, son of former Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, released an audio message through the terror network’s media arm on Tuesday, encouraging violence against the United States and their allies.
Hamza reportedly urged followers to “rise in rebellion… against the agents of the Americans,” and to “incite the masses… until the preparations are complete & the masses are ready for an uprising,” according to Voice of America.
He also called for revenge over the killing of his father, who died at the hands of U.S. Navy SEALs in 2011. His statement comes shortly after the Central Intelligence Agency released thousands of files obtained by SEALs at the Abbottabad compound after killing his father. In those files was a video of Hamza’s wedding, recovered on bin Laden’s laptop, offering the public its first glimpse of him as an adult. Previously only still images of Hamza as a child were in circulation.
Hamza avoided the fate of his brother, Khalid, who was also shot and killed by SEALs, as he was not with his father in Pakistan the night he was killed. He is thought to be in his late 20’s and has released similar audio messages over the years to spread propaganda and incite violence. Shortly after the elder bin Laden’s death, some speculated that Hamza would be groomed to be his father’s successor at the helm of Al Qaeda, although that does not appear to be the case yet.
Al Qaeda is still led by the man who’s been there since the beginning: Ayman al-Zawahiri, the short, bespectacled and uninspiring Egyptian who worked in the shadow of the charismatic Osama. Despite lacking the appeal and magnetism that surrounded bin Laden’s image, Zawahiri has been a prodigious al Qaeda propagandizer over the years, making many videos and statements for the group while avoiding U.S. drone strikes.
Image courtesy of the CIA.