The marriage of the younger bin Laden to the daughter of Mohammed Atta was revealed by the bin Laden family in an interview with the British newspaper in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
In the interview, Osama bin Laden’s half-brothers said they believed Hamza is likely in Afghanistan, and possibly plotting to avenge his father’s May 2011 killing in Pakistan at the hands of the U.S. military.
A few months after the bin Laden raid, the CIA released never-before-seen video of Hamza, offering the first public view of him as an adult. He had previously only been seen in childhood pictures.
Hamza was added to the U.S. counter-terrorism blacklist in early 2017 after he was declared a member of Al-Qaeda by Ayman al-Zawahiri, who succeeded Osama bin Laden as the group’s leader.
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Now in his late twenties, Hamza threatened revenge against the U.S. and its allies in a 21-minute audio recording posted online in 2016.
Al-Zawahiri is believed to have tasked Hamza with providing a younger voice for the group, whose aging leaders have struggled to inspire militants around the world galvanized by Islamic State.
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Hamza’s uncles told the Guardian they had hoped the family’s association with terrorism would end with Osama bin Laden’s death, and urged Hamza to rethink his path.
“Think twice about what you are doing. Don’t retake the steps of your father. You are entering horrible parts of your soul,” they said.
Guardian journalist Martin Chulov told CBS News that the bin Laden family believes Hamza’s wedding to Atta’s daughter to be a sign that the group is banking on a resurgence.
“So what they would say is that 9/11 alumni remains very viable and very real even 17 years after the fact,” Chulov told CBS.
Osama bin Laden’s mother told Chulov that her son was a shy and academically capable boy, but became radicalized while attending university in Jeddah.
She says he was “brainwashed” by people he met at university, including a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who would become his spiritual adviser.
— With files from Reuters