Osama bin Laden’s son is taking over as al Qaeda leader, US says

National/World News

Supporters of hard line pro-Taliban party Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Nazaryati (JUI-N) carry portraits of the slain Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as they pray for bin Laden during an anti-US rally in Quetta on May 2, 2012 on the first anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden. Pakistan was in a state of high alert on May 2, over fears militants will launch revenge attacks on the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s killing by American Navy SEALs. The al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and 9/11 mastermind was killed on May 2, 2011 in a secret US Navy SEAL operation in a walled-off compound in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad, north of the Pakistani capital. AFP PHOTO/BANARAS KHAN (Photo credit should read BANARAS KHAN/AFP/GettyImages)

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WASHINGTON — A son of Osama bin Laden is emerging as a leader in al Qaeda, the US State Department says, and it’s willing to pay up to $1 million for information on his whereabouts.

Hamza bin Laden, whose father was killed by US Navy SEALs in Pakistan in 2011, is taking the reins of the terror group, the State Department said late Thursday.

“Hamza bin Laden … is emerging as a leader” in the al Qaeda franchise, the department said in a statement. “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 US military forces.”

The State Department said items seized from the elder bin Laden’s hiding place in Pakistan at the time of his death indicated he was grooming Hamza bin Laden to replace him as al Qaeda’s leader.

The younger bin Laden is married to the daughter of Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker in the September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, the State Department said.

As American officials hunt him down, UN member states are required to freeze Hamza bin Laden’s assets, and comply with a travel ban and arms embargo, according to the State Department Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism.

US officials estimate Hamza bin Laden is between the ages of 30 and 33.

Saudi Arabia has revoked Hamza bin Laden’s citizenship, official newspaper Um al-Qura reported Friday, citing a royal order issued to the Interior Ministry.

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