Saudia Arabia’s foreign ministry announced Friday that it was revoking the citizenship of Hamza bin Laden, son of the slain Al Qaeda leader responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Usama bin Laden.
The move comes less than a day after the U.S. State Department’s Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program announced a $1 million reward for information leading to his whereabouts. The United Nations Security Council on Thursday also added Hamza to its designated sanctions list.
However, other members of bin Laden’s family – including his mother Hamida al-Attas – remain in the country and are influential members of Saudi society.
Hamza was named a “specifically designated global terrorist” by the United States more than two years ago, and has been viewed as an emerging leader and “face for the younger generation” of Al Qaeda recruits. The outfit’s current leader, Egyptian physician Ayman al-Zawahiri, introduced him to the followers in an audio message in 2015. Hamza has since gone on to use his platform to call for attacks against the West.
Much like his late father – who was killed in a raid of his Abbottabad, Pakistan compound by US Navy SEALs in 2011 – Hamza, believed to be around 30, is a shadowy and elusive figure and little about his background or status his known. He is reported to have recently married, and has been thought to reside – or have resided – everywhere from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Iran and Syria. While he was just one of an estimated two dozen of Usama’s children and around 12 when the 9/11 attacks took place, he has long been considered in intelligence circles to have been “the favorite.”
Al Qaeda remains a potent and global terrorist network, with branches spanning the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia.