Hamza bin Laden, the son of Osama bin Laden, has married the daughter of Mohammed Atta, one of the ringleaders behind the 9/11 terror attacks.
The marriage was revealed by Osama bin Laden’s half brothers in a recent interview with The Guardian in which they said they believed Hamza had taken a senior position within al-Qaeda and was aiming to avenge the death of his father.
Ahmad al-Attas, one of Osama’s half brothers, said:
We have heard [Hamza] has married the daughter of Mohammed Atta. We’re not sure where he is, but it could be Afghanistan.
Hamza is the son of one of Osama’s three surviving wives, Khairiah Sabar, who was living in the compound in Abbottabad with Osama when he was killed by US Navy Seals in 2011.
Hamza has since made a number of public statements to al-Qaida followers, and is seen as a deputy to the terrorist group’s current leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, according to The Guardian.
Because of this, intelligence agencies have been focussing on the whereabouts of Hamza, viewing him as a potential figurehead for al-Qaeda, encouraging followers and inciting them into action.
The marriage between two people whose parents were both heavily involved in the 9/11 terror attacks suggests that, 17 years later, the legacy of the awful events still remains a central part of al-Qaeda and its followers.
Hassan, Hamza’s uncle, said:
We thought everyone was over this. Then the next thing I knew, Hamza was saying, ‘I am going to avenge my father.’ I don’t want to go through that again. If Hamza was in front of me now, I would tell him, ‘God guide you. Think twice about what you are doing. Don’t retake the steps of your father. You are entering horrible parts of your soul.’
Before Osama’s death, one of his other sons, Saad, was killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan, while a third, Khalid, was also killed in the US raid in Abbottabad.
Letters seized from his compound and allegedly written by Osama apparently suggest he was working to have Hamza replace him within the organisation.
Bin Laden’s surviving wives and children are now living in Saudi Arabia where they remain in close contact with Bin Laden’s mother, Alia Ghanem.
Ghanem is now in her 70s, and she described her son Osama’s personality as a child as ‘very good’ and ‘shy’. She added that he was deeply religious when he was younger.
The mother said:
He was very straight. Very good at school. He really liked to study. He spent all his money on Afghanistan – he would sneak off under the guise of family business.
Ghanem said that she could never have imagined Bin Laden would become a terrorist responsible for the death of thousands, and suggested that it was during his time at university that he became a ‘different man’.
The people at university changed him. He became a different man.
He was a very good child until he met some people who pretty much brainwashed him in his early 20s. You can call it a cult.
However, other members of the family suggested Ghanem is still in denial about her son.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.