Experts say Hamza bin Laden is a ‘new face for al Qaeda’ and ‘an articulate and dangerous enemy’
Bin Laden hoped his son Hamza would eventually succeed him
A son of late al-Qaeda head Osama bin Laden and a leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were added to the US counter-terrorism blacklist on Thursday, a move to keep them from using the U.S. financial system, the State Department said.
The State and Treasury departments said they had designated Hamza bin Laden and Ibrahim al-Banna as global terrorists. Bin Laden, a son of the deceased al-Qaeda leader, has been declared a member of the group by senior leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, according to the State Department.
Bruce Reidel, an analyst with the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, has called Hamza bin Laden the “new face for al-Qaeda” and “an articulate and dangerous enemy.”
Al-Banna is a senior member of AQAP who has served as the group’s security chief and has provided military and security advice to AQAP leaders, the State Department said.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control added Bin Laden and al-Banna to its list of specially designated nationals, a counterterrorism blacklist. The State Department said the two had been identified as specially designated global terrorists.
Any property owned by the two men and subject to US jurisdiction may be frozen and US citizens are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them, the State Department said. The designation is viewed as a powerful tool to deny them access to the U.S. financial system.
Bin Laden, who was born in Saudi Arabia, has called for acts of terrorism in western capitals and threatened to take revenge against the United States for his father’s killing, the State Department said.
He has threatened to target Americans abroad and urged Saudi tribes to unite with AQAP in Yemen to fight against Saudi Arabia, it said.
Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces who raided his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011. Hamza bin Laden was thought to be under house arrest in Iran at the time, and documents recovered from the compound indicated that aides had been trying to reunite him with his father.
Al-Banna, who was born in Egypt, has described al-Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington as “virtuous” and threatened to target Americans in the United States and abroad, the State Department said.