Osama bin Laden was grooming son Hamza as heir to jihadist empire


WASHINGTON: The 22-year-old would-be-jihadist wrote to his reclusive father to say he was itching to join the fight. Hamza trained with explosives and embraced the terror network that killed 3,000 Americans in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

But young Hamza was no run-of-the-mill jihadist recruit. He was the favorite son of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, who was grooming him to take over as al-Qaida’s leader, according to US intelligence officials.

More than 100 newly declassified documents were provided to AFP by the Central Intelligence Agency, including two letters to bin Laden from his son and one from Hamza’s mother imploring that he follow in his “father’s footsteps.”

They included al-Qaida correspondence noting the eagerness of Hamza, believed to have engaged in terror raids when he was a teen and propaganda videos at a younger age, to return to his father inner circle.

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