Hamza bin Laden offers ‘advice for martyrdom seekers in the West’

Hamza bin Laden, the son of al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, has released a new message offering “advice” for “martyrdom seekers in the West.” Hamza encourages followers to lash out on their own, but only after carefully preparing their attack so they “may inflict damage far beyond anything the enemy has ever imagined.”

As Sahab, al Qaeda’s propaganda arm, released the junior bin Laden’s message less one week after a similar appeal was issued by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader Qasim al Raymi. The “lone mujahid” effort was first launched by AQAP, but the group’s rivals in the Islamic State have had far more success in inspiring and guiding individual attacks since 2014. The messages from Raymi and now Hamza bin Laden are likely part of al Qaeda’s effort to regain the initiative with respect to this tactic.

Hamza calls on individual jihadists to “avenge” the “children of Syria,” the “widows of Palestine,” the “free honorable women of Iraq,” and “the orphans of Afghanistan.”

“Exercise patience and deliberation, for it is among the qualities loved by Allah and His Messenger, peace be upon him,” Hamza says. “Accomplish your goals with secrecy. Attain the highest level of perfection in your actions, exercise utmost care and caution, and prepare diligently to inflict crippling losses on those who have disbelieved.”

Hamza specifically references AQAP’s Inspire Magazine, saying followers can “benefit” from it. (Interestingly, his father was reportedly less impressed by Inspire and even complained about some of the tactics advocated therein.)

“Be perfect in your choice of targets, so that you may damage your enemies more,” Hamza advises. “Be professional in your choice of weapons. It is not necessary that it should be a military tool. If you are able to pick a firearm, well and good; if not, the options are many.”

Osama’s heir encourages individual jihadists to “follow in the footsteps of martyrdom-seekers before” them, arguing they shouldn’t “underestimate” themselves. There is no reason to emigrate to the jihadists battlefields abroad, according to Hamza, because “professionally executed individual operations in the West” have “outweighed numerous operations in the East.” (Al Qaeda’s rivals in the Islamic State have made the same argument.)

“Know that inflicting punishment on Jews and Crusaders where you are present is more vexing and severe for the enemy,” Hamza continues. “It is sharper than a hundred warheads directed against their agents.”

Hamza wants followers to “prioritize” their “targets.”

First, “everyone who transgresses against our pure Religion, or against our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him)” should be struck. Hamza specifically mentions the Jan. 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, which was claimed by AQAP and carried out according to Ayman al Zawahiri’s general orders.

“Next, look out for Jewish interests everywhere.” But if the jihadist is not able to locate these, then “target American Crusaders.”

“If you are unable to go for American Crusaders, target the interests of the Crusader member states of NATO,” Hamza continues. “And since Russia has forgotten what it tasted in Chechnya and Afghanistan, and has returned once again to interfere in matters concerning Islam, do not exclude it from your targets of priority. Give Russia a pertinent reminder of the days of your predecessors.”

Hamza and other al Qaeda leaders want jihadist attacks to send a clear message to their enemies. “I strongly advise that the message you intend to convey through your blessed operation must be explained unequivocally in the media,” he advises. “It is absolutely imperative that people should know the objective of your operation.”

“We in al Qaeda emphasize the importance of conveying the following messages to Western states, and we advise you to do the same,” Hamza says. He provides a list of al Qaeda’s priorities for individual jihadists:

1. Our Religion and our Prophet (peace be upon him) are RED LINES. Let those who cross these lines take heed from Charlie Hebdo.

2. Palestine is a cause of our Islamic Ummah [worldwide community of Muslims]. And anyone who supports Jewish occupiers shall never dream of peace, with the permission of Allah.

3. Sham is a cause of our Islamic Ummah. Our people in Sham are faced with genocide. And everyone who participates in tormenting them with bombings or by aiding Bashar [al Assad] and his allies shall not escape punishment.

4. Our lands are occupied. The Land of the Two Sanctuaries [Saudi Arabia] is occupied. We shall continue to target you until you withdraw your forces from the Arabian Peninsula and from every single land of Islam.

5. Our airspace is violated by your aircrafts which unleash their deadly payload on our children. Our wealth and resources are expropriated every single day.

Hamza’s audio message is embedded in a video that is just over ten minutes long. Various operations, including the Dec. 2016 assassination of a Russian ambassador in Turkey, are lauded throughout the video.

As Hamza’s audio begins to play, an image of the Fort Hood shooter, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, is shown on screen. The photo of Hasan is followed by footage from the Nov. 5, 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood, video from a service for the victims, and a brief clip of AQAP ideologue Anwar al Awlaki, who inspired Hasan.

An image of Ramzi Yousef, who orchestrated the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and other plots, is also included at the outset, as is footage from the 1993 bombing in lower Manhattan.

As Sahab released Hamza’s message with Arabic and English-language transcripts. Al Qaeda has been releasing messages with an English translation on an increasingly frequent basis. Recent messages from Ayman al Zawahiri and Raymi were also released with English transcripts.

Screen shots from the video accompanying Hamza bin Laden’s audio message:

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Devendra Sood says:

    Just remember, Hamza. There is a DRONE circling above with a missile with your name on it. In case it misses you, we have SEAL TEAM 6 and you know what they did to your father. Split Open his head to the point that his face was not recognaizable. So, the same TEAM is eager to arrange your meeting with ALLAH as soon as you are man enough to come out of your hole, Cockraoch.

  • Rex says:

    Im always worried that the Hollywood Oscars and other Hollywood red carpet events will be targeted. Losing our liberal actors to an act of Islam with so much media present would be difficult to accept.


  • NHA says:

    This is absurd. He has taken leave of his senses.

  • Arjuna says:

    Hamza needs a bullet very badly. They want to hand him the mantle. Let’s hand him a hand grenade!
    Zawahiri was ready to “promote” him if Karachi Dockyard had succeeded. Hamza is right there in Karachi. Watch out for the Nuclear 9/11, the Lone Wolf stuff is a smoke screen to throw US off the scent. Zawahiri thinks big and always has.

  • TRM says:

    I assume he’s on the “Whack at first opportunity” list?

  • Baz says:

    @Davendra Sood
    What if he is protected by Pakistan intelligence again like his dad and Zаwаhery allegedly are? Do you really want to risk a much larger confrontation with Pakistan ?

  • Alex Kovnat says:

    The sooner that guy is bumped off, the better.

  • zzzzzzzzzzz says:

    You gotta like the part where he says, “hope for the best from Allah”! That should tell all muslims around the world, that this is not of God, nor Allah, if they have to hope for the best. To me, that means that what they’re being brainwashed into doing, is not really in accordance with God nor Allah’s will.

  • Devendra Sood says:

    My Dear Hamza, I would love to introduce you to a mutual friend who will easily arrange your greatest heart desire; to meet Allah in the cause of Islam…….OUR MUTUAL FRIEND…THE DRONE. He is desperately searching to meet you. Would you just come out of your hole and “say Hello to my little friend.” And, Rest Assured; your meeting wtih Allah will happen in nano-second and you could be looking for those 72 Hoories. Isn’t that an exciting thought, Dear Hamza. After all you are recommending Shahada to other poor ignorant Muslims; so why not lead by example and give humanity a break.

  • Nell Pursey says:

    I like your comment D.Sood. Bloody Barbaric braindead murderers. They want blood, the West will give them blood, all out war it is then. They are not normal human beings, they are an evil multi-headed mutant species and wiping them out is an absolute must.

  • Cass says:

    Have the various al Qaeda leaders across N Africa, Middle East and other affiliates recognized Hamza as the successor and leader of al Qaeda after the death of Osama bin Laden?

  • Eric says:

    If he likes martyrdom so much then why doesn’t he do it himself

  • Arjuna says:

    We are all on the same page, D Sood and N Pursey. I like how the Dalai Lama compares jihadis to animals with rabies. The only compassionate thing to do is take them out and the sooner the better. Their cancer is spreading and we must do it faster than we’ve been doing it or we could lose important things like cities and/or air travel ability.

  • Arjuna says:

    No. Zawahiri is still official top dog. Any bayat gets sworn to Z. Hamza has fans and a great last name. He will go front and center if/when they land a big punch. ISI seems to have Hamza on a very tight leash (probably a condition of the Saudis paying to have him kept secure).

  • James says:

    Like father, like son. What amazes me about this were the cry babies that whined about the [so-called] “accidental” taking out of Anwar Awlaki’s son. You just can’t eliminate the husband, you have to eliminate the entire family [at least]. This is the reality of the situation we are faced with, people. In any war, there are going to be casualties (and some of them are bound to be [so-called] “innocent” civilians).
    There should only be a good faith standard. If our people acted in good faith, they should not be held accountable for [so-called] “innocent” civilian casualties. “They that harbor terrorists must share in their fate,” GW Bush.

  • JOHN YURCH says:

    Hamza, after knowing what happened to you father, ( your insane terror-loving brothers gave weak and impotent protection), why can’t you understand that your threats are like a womans’ and that your desire for vengeance is only a death-wish for yourself and anyone who follows you? If I were you, I would try to use my name and voice to do some good in this world and balance out the evil committed by your deviant father


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