In a new video released by the terrorist organization Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden’s son, Hamza Bin Laden, offers potential jihadists with advice on how to successfully engage in lone-wolf style terror attacks in the West, calling on Muslims to target Americans and Jews in particular.
“Know that inflicting punishment on Jews and crusaders where you are present is more vexing and severe for the enemy,” Hamza Bin Laden’s recorded voice says, according to a translation provided in the video. He goes on to encourage his followers to target American and NATO interests at home, as well as Jews, Russians, and any other “non-believers.”
The ten-minute video depicts images from terror attacks all over the world in recent years, and sees the 28-year-old Bin Laden encouraging extremists to use weapons other than firearms if they don’t have access to guns, emphasizing the use of vehicles and knives with depictions of previous attacks that utilized such non-traditional weaponry.
“Follow in the footsteps of martyrdom-seekers before you,” he urges. “Pick off from where they left, for this will help you.”
Bin Laden suggests that extremists do reconnaissance on their targets, avoid arousing the suspicion of authorities, and to be “self-assured.” Like his father, Hamza Bin Laden has already demonstrated a significant concern for branding, encouraging the radical terrorists to make their messages clear during attacks to ensure the media can easily spread them.
Hamza Bin Laden first appeared in Al Qaeda propaganda films as a child, alongside his father, the architect of the terror attacks on September 11th, 2001, Osama Bin Laden. Personal letters seized during the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden show that he was close with his son Hamza, who demonstrated a clear willingness to carry on his father’s terrorist ideology.
Ali Soufan, the former FBI agent who was the bureau’s lead investigator of al Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks, recalls the letters from Hamza as declarations of the son’s love and support for the terrorist leader.
“He tells him that…he remembers ‘every look…every smile you gave me, every word you told me,’” Soufan said before adding that Hamza wrote, “I consider myself to be forged in steel. The path of jihad for the sake of God is what we live.”
At the time, Hamza was 22 years old and leadership within Al Qaeda had already begun to recognize his leadership and propaganda potential.
“He was a poster kid for the al Qaeda…and for members of al Qaeda, who were indoctrinated with these propaganda videos, he means a lot to them,” Soufan explained.
In 2016, an audio recording of Hamza Bin Laden vowing to take revenge for his father’s death surfaced, prompting the United States to place him on the Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) list. The State Department issued a statement at the time specifying the reasons for his name being added to the list:
On August 14, 2015 Hamza bin Laden, son of Usama bin Laden, was officially announced by al-Qa’ida senior leader Ayman al-Zawahiri as an official member of the group. In this 2015 audio message from al-Zawahiri, bin Laden called for acts of terrorism in western capitals. On July 9, 2016, al-Qa’ida issued another audio message from Hamza bin Laden threatening revenge against the United States and warned Americans they would be targeted in the United States and abroad. Specifically, in 2015, bin Laden called for lone offender attacks against U.S., French, and Israeli interests in Washington, D.C.; Paris, France; and Tel Aviv, Israel. Additionally, in 2016, bin Laden called on Saudi Arabian-based tribes to unite with al-Qa’ida’s affiliate in Yemen to wage war against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Now, with ISIS’ strength beginning to wane in Iraq and Syria, Al Qaeda seems primed to either reconsider an alliance with them, or resume their role as the preeminent Islamic terrorist organization in the world. It is currently estimated that Al Qaeda now boasts as many as 20,000 followers in Syria alone, many of whom have control over entire towns or villages, despite using other names to avoid the interest of Western forces conducting anti-ISIS operations in the region.
You can watch Hamza Bin Laden’s ten-minute video below:
Images courtesy of YouTube, CBS