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U.S. Lists Bin Laden's Son as a 'Global Terrorist'
The United States on Thursday officially listed a son of Osama bin Laden as a "global terrorist," and warned that the younger man, who has called for attacks around the world, poses a risk to American national security.
The son, Hamza bin Laden, who has pledged to take up Osama bin Laden's violent mantle and avenge his death, is "actively engaged in terrorism," the State Department said, putting his age at 27.
Placing Mr. Bin Laden on the government list, formally known as the Specially Designated Global Terrorist list, gives officials legal tools to isolate him and hamper his movements and transactions. It is also a reminder of the continued terrorism campaign by Al Qaeda, which Osama bin Laden founded, and its affiliates, and of its aim to recruit and groom a new generation of jihadists.
Hamza bin Laden, one of Osama bin Laden's 23 children, was named a member of the terrorist group in 2014 by his father's successor, Ayman al-Zawahri. Since then, in a series of recorded messages, Mr. Bin Laden has called for attacks on Western capitals and warned Americans that they would be "targeted in the United States and abroad," the State Department said.
Last year, in a video released by Al Qaeda's media outlet, As-Sahab, Mr. Bin Laden pledged to avenge his father's death, warning Americans that if they believed the killing of his father by American forces in 2011 had "passed without punishment, then you thought wrong."
From a young age, Hamza bin Laden expressed an interest in joining his father's terrorist campaign. As a boy, he appeared in propaganda films, and documents found after his father's death indicate that the young man was being groomed for a Qaeda leadership role.
In 2009, in a letter discovered at his father's hide-out in Pakistan and eventually reported by American officials, Mr. Bin Laden wrote: "My beloved father, I was separated from you when I was a small child, not yet 13, but I am older now, and have attained manhood."
"But what truly makes me sad," he added, "is the mujahedeen legions have marched and I have not joined them."
A letter said to have been written by Osama bin Laden in 2010 called his son "very sweet and good" and described his ardor to join Al Qaeda's fight.
"He comes back to me asking me that he should be trained and participated in giving," the letter read. "He does not want to be treated with favoritism because he is the son of 'someone.' I promised him to plan some safe training for him: firing arms and with various weapons."
Mr. Bin Laden, the son of Khairiah Sabar, is one of the few Bin Laden children to openly express a willingness to follow in his father's footsteps. The American government incorrectly said he was among the dead in the American raid that killed his father, later issuing a correction to say that another Bin Laden son, Khalid, had been killed and that Hamza had not been in the home at the time.
Ms. Sabar, a native of Saudi Arabia, was among those captured in the raid, in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and was later released.
[Source: By Russell Goldman, The New York Times, 05Jan17]
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