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Sunday, Dec 15, 2019

US offers $1 million reward bin Laden’s son

The US State Department said on Thursday it was offering a reward of up to $1 million for information leading “to the identification or location in any country” of Hamza, calling him a key al Qaeda leader .

world Updated: Mar 02, 2019 07:00 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Beirut
A photograph circulated by the U.S. State Department’s Twitter account to announce a $1 million USD reward for al Qaeda key leader Hamza bin Laden, son of Osama bin Laden, is seen March 1, 2019.
A photograph circulated by the U.S. State Department’s Twitter account to announce a $1 million USD reward for al Qaeda key leader Hamza bin Laden, son of Osama bin Laden, is seen March 1, 2019. (REUTERS)
         

The United States has announced a reward of up $1 million for information on the whereabouts f Hamza bin Laden, one of the sons of Osama bin Laden, who was killed by American commandos in his hideout in Pakistan in May 2011.

Announcing the bounty Thursday, the US state department said the younger bin Laden “is emerging as a leader in the AQ franchise”. And he has threatened to avenge his father’s death by attacking the United States and called for his supporters to attack the US and its western allies.

The United States had designated Hamza, said to be between 30 and 33 years of age, a foreign terrorist in 2017, and froze his assets in the the US and in its jurisdiction anywhere outside, and prohibited Americans from engaging in any transactions with him.

Shortly after the Thursday reward, Saudi Arabia stripped Hamza bin Laden of Saudi citizenship, as it had done with his father, who founded al Qaeda to fight Soviet Union forces in Afghanistan and then went on to carry out several terrorist attacks on the United States and its facilities and assets around the world.

The most significant of them were the September 11, 2001 simultaneous attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York and .the Pentagon on the outskirts of Washington DC. Nearly Nearly 3,000 civilians, police, and first responders were killed. The dead included U.S. citizens and foreign nationals from at least 77 countries, including many from India.

Hamza bin Laden is married to the daughter of Mohammad Atta, one of the men who carried out the September 11 attacks, and according to material seized from his father’s hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, he was being groomed by his father to take over from him.

Ayman al Zawahiri, an Egyptian, has led al Qaeda since Osama bin Laden’s death, but he might now be getting ready to pass on the mantle to the younger bin laden, who, it is suspected, could be hiding along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.