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US puts Osama bin Laden’s son on terror blacklist

Al Jazeera, AFP | Screengrab of Al Jazeera footage aired Nov. 7, 2001, purportedly shows Hamza bin Laden surrounded by armed militia as he recites a poem extolling the Taliban.

Hamza bin Laden, a son of the late al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was added to the US terrorist blacklist on Thursday along with a senior leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

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The US State and Treasury departments said they had designated bin Laden, who is in his mid-20s, and Ibrahim al-Banna as global terrorists.

Al-Banna is a senior member of AQAP who has served as the group's security chief and has provided military and security guidance to AQAP leaders, the State Department said.

The US has offered a $5 million reward for him.

The younger bin Laden has become an active al Qaeda propagandist since his father was killed in Pakistan by US special forces in 2011.

According to letters found in the Navy SEAL raid on Osama's hideout in Pakistan, Hamza wrote to his father asking to be trained and to be able to follow him.

A CIA analyst who examined the letters told AFP that in July 2009, when Hamza sent the letter to his father's hideout in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, they had not seen each other for eight years.

The elder bin Laden was making plans to send for his son, who was at the time under house arrest in Iran, and planned to groom him to become al Qaeda's leader.

Since bin Laden's death, his Egyptian deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri has taken up the reins of the organisation, but Hamza has issued audio messages to supporters.

The State Department order lists Hamza bin Laden as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist," meaning that US citizens are forbidden from dealing with him, and freezing any assets under US jurisdiction.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS) 

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