Hamza bin Laden is the son of deceased former al-Qa’ida leader Usama bin Laden and is emerging as a leader in the al-Qa’ida franchise. He has released audio and video messages on the Internet, calling on his followers to launch attacks against the United States and its Western allies, and he has threatened attacks against the United States in revenge for the May 2011 killing of his father by U.S. military forces.
Hamza bin Laden is married to a daughter of Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, an al-Qa’ida senior leader who was indicted and charged by a federal grand jury in November 1998 for his role in the August 7, 1998, bombings of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya. A video of Hamza’s wedding was found in Usama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound and released by the CIA in 2017. Letters seized from the compound, where bin Laden was killed, indicate that he was grooming Hamza to replace him as leader of al-Qa’ida.
Al-Qa’ida was established in 1988. The group helped finance, recruit, transport, and train fighters for the Afghan resistance against the former Soviet Union. In 1996, al-Qa’ida issued a declaration of war against the United States.
Al-Qa’ida and its supporters conducted three bombings targeting U.S. troops in Aden in December 1992, and claimed responsibility for shooting down U.S. helicopters and killing U.S. soldiers in Somalia in 1993. Al-Qa’ida also carried out the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, killing up to 300 individuals and injuring more than 5,000. In October 2000, al-Qa’ida conducted a suicide attack on the USS Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen with an explosive-laden boat, killing 17 U.S. Navy sailors and injuring 39 others.
On September 11, 2001, 19 al-Qa’ida members hijacked and crashed four U.S. commercial jets – two into the World Trade Center in New York City, one into the Pentagon, and one into a field in Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 civilians, police, and first responders were killed. The dead included U.S. citizens and foreign nationals from at least 77 countries.