Saudi Arabia strips Bin Laden’s son Hamza of citizenship

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Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry announced that a Royal Decree has been issued granting approval of stripping the Saudi nationality from the son of late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Hamza, according to Okaz newspaper.

On Thursday, the United States had offered a $1 million reward for information on Hamza bin Laden, seeing him as an emerging face of extremism.

Hamza bin Laden is believed to have spent years with his mother in Iran, where it is thought his wedding took place, and is suspected to still be living there.

Hamza bin Laden is believed to have been born in 1989, the year of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The 15th of Osama bin Laden’s 20 children and a son of his third wife, Hamza has been groomed to follow in his father’s footsteps since childhood.

Hamza bin Laden began appearing in militant videos and recordings in 2015 as an al-Qaeda spokesman.

He has threatened attacks against the US to avenge the 2011 killing of his father - who was living in hiding in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad - by US special forces.

“Since at least August 2015, 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,” the US State Department said in a statement on Thursday.

Video released by the CIA in 2017 that was seized during the Abbottabad raid shows Hamza bin Laden with a trimmed mustache but no beard, at his wedding.

A United Nations report published last year noted that Hamza bin Laden “continued to emerge as a leadership figure in al-Qaeda.”

“Al-Qaeda’s leadership demonstrates strategic patience and its regional affiliates exercise good tactical judgment, embedding themselves in local issues and becoming players,” the UN report warned. “While there is as yet little evidence of a re-emerging direct global threat from al-Qaeda, improved leadership and enhanced communication will probably increase the threat over time.”

- With Agencies.

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