The son of the late al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has released a series of videos urging lone-wolf attacks against Americans. A retired FBI agent asserted that the son of bin Laden is determined to avenge his father's death at the hands of U.S. forces.
On May 13, al-Qaida released an audio message featuring Hamza bin Laden calling for affiliates and sympathizers of the terrorist organization to pressure the West through lone-wolf attacks, New York Daily News reports.
Hamza urged radicalized operatives to avenge the deaths of women and children in war-torn Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and Syria and directly told the U.S. government: "We shall continue to target you until you withdraw your forces from the Arabian Peninsula and from every single land of Islam."
Hamza, who is currently 28 years old, was 22 when his father Osama was killed by a U.S. Navy SEAL team in 2011. Since 2015, the younger bin Laden has been featured in various pieces of al-Qaida propaganda calling for more civilian attacks. The State Department has given him the same label Osama had while alive: a "specially designated global terrorist."
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Ali Soufan, a retired FBI investigator who once spearheaded the bureau's division on al-Qaida, determined that Hamza was groomed to be his father's successor after examining the documents that were seized from Osama's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
On May 14, Soufan explained that while Hamza had not seen Osama during the eight years before his death, their correspondence indicated a loving relationship.
"Eight years and he didn't see his dad," Soufan told CBS News. "And he's basically just telling him, you know, how much he misses him. He tells him that, you know, I remember every, every look you looked at me, every smile you gave me, every word you told me."
In one of the letters, Hamza wrote: "I consider myself to be forged in steel ... the path of jihad for the sake of God is what we live."
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Soufan noted that al-Qaida had heavily featured Hamza in propaganda that implied Hamza might become the organization's figurehead after coming of age.
"In a way, he was a poster kid for al-Qaida," Soufan said. "They featured him in so many of their propaganda [videos]. And for members of al-Qaida who were indoctrinated with these propaganda videos he means a lot to them."
The retired FBI investigator added that Hamza "wants to avenge his dad."