Terrorism Updates and Analysis
This update informs readers about important recent events affecting the global terror landscape and compliments GDBA’s Global Terrorism Intelligence Briefing posted earlier in the month.
$1 Million Reward for Information Leading to Hamza bin Laden
On February 28, 2019, the U.S. Department of State announced a $1 million reward for information leading to Hamza bin Laden, son of deceased al Qaida leader Usama bin Laden.
As we’ve reported previously, Hamza bin Laden, one of Usama bin Laden’s estimated 11 sons, is believed to have been born in Saudi Arabia in 1989. Frequently referred to in Western media as the “crown prince” of al Qaida, Hamza is said to have been close to his father growing up and was seen in al Qaida propaganda videos as a young boy, as early as 2001.
While it is unknown if Hamza and his father ever saw each other again after being separated in the early 2000s, correspondence recovered in the 2011 raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan that killed Usama bin Laden revealed several letters from Hamza to his father. In one such letter, Hamza wrote that he was “forged from steel,” and ready to “march with the armies of the Mujahedeen.”
In 2015, current al Qaida leader Ayman al‐Zawahiri released a recording introducing Hamza bin Laden as one the terror groups “lions,” making Hamza’s affiliation with al Qaida official. Shortly after, the group released an audio message featuring Hamza calling for attacks against the West, specifically, “lone offender attacks against U.S., French, and Israeli interests in Washington D.C., Paris, France, and Tel Aviv, Israel.”
A follow‐up recording by Hamza in July 2016 threatened revenge against the U.S. for his father’s death, warning that Americans will be targeted at home and abroad.
A May 2017 message reveals that Hamza encouraged al Qaida followers to attack Jews, Americans, Westerners, and even Russians, using whatever means necessary. “If you are able to pick up a firearm, well and good; if not, the options are many.”
Instead of calling for jihadists to travel to join al Qaida’s cause, Hamza advocates for followers to carry out attacks where they live, because “professionally executed individual operations in the West have outweighed numerous operations in the East.”
U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Identified As A Domestic Terrorist
Self‐described White Nationalist and Coast Guard Lieutenant Christopher Paul Hasson is due to appear in federal court in Maryland after a joint operation led by the FBI arrested him at his home on February 15, 2019.
According to federal prosecutors, it appears that Mr. Hasson was planning a domestic terrorist attack aimed at politicians, journalists, and media personalities.
Federal agents found at least 15 firearms and approximately 1,000 rounds of ammunition at his residence, along with a suitcase containing bottles of human growth hormones (HGH).
According to the federal criminal complaint, Mr. Hasson has a history of espousing right‐wing beliefs, which included him contacting a known American neo‐Nazi leader with his motivations to “establish a white homeland” because “the government has expertly infiltrated and destroyed from within most if not all Pro‐White organizations”.
The complaint also noted Mr. Hasson’s apparent admiration for Norwegian’s mass murderer, Anders Behring Breivik. According to the federal affidavit, Mr. Hasson would regularly examine portions of Mr. Breivik’s manifesto that provided instructions on how to “amass appropriate firearms, food, disguises, and survival supplies”. This was consistent with Mr. Hasson’s Internet history that focused on the purchasing of firearms and tactical gear, the procurement of U.S. military technical manuals on improvised explosives, and tactical handbooks, not to mention any relevant training he received in the Coast Guard.
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