Laden’s son urges overthrow of Saudi rulers
The son of Al-Qaeda’s slain founder Osama bin Laden has urged Saudis to “overthrow” the kingdom’s rulers in order to “free” themselves from the US influence, SITE Intelligence Group reported on Wednesday.
In an undated audio message, Hamza bin Laden urged Saudi youth to join the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to “gain the necessary experience” to fight, according to SITE. Classified by the US as the network’s deadliest franchise, AQAP was formed in January 2009 as a merger of the Yemeni and Saudi branches of Al-Qaeda. Yemen is the ancestral home of Saudi-born Osama, who was killed in Pakistan in 2011 by the US Navy SEALS.
US intelligence officials have said 23-year-old Hamza was the favourite son of the 9/11 mastermind, who had been grooming him to take over as the Al-Qaeda leader. On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of Osama’s death, experts have noted Hamza’s increasing prominence among jihadists in comparison to that of Egyptian Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
A Saudi-led coalition is battling Iran-backed rebels in Yemen as well as Sunni jihadists who have joined AQAP and the Islamic state. Saudi authorities in 1994 stripped Osama of its nationality after he issued fatwas, denouncing both the royal family and the US.