The US State Department has issued a whopping $1 million bounty for information leading to the whereabouts of Hamza bin Laden, son of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was reportedly killed by US Navy Seals in Pakistan in 2011.
US intelligence and counter-terror officials believe the son, now estimated to be 30 to 33 years old, has emerged as leader of the al-Qaeda terror network and is currently trying to track him, especially after new audio and video messages have emerged of him calling for terror attacks against the United States and its allies.
The US State Department said in a statement this week, "He has released audio and video messages on the Internet, calling on his followers to launch attacks against the United States and its Western allies, and he has threatened attacks against the United States in revenge for the May 2011 killing of his father by US military forces."
The new information was posted on the State Deptartment's "Rewards for Justice" program website further says he married the daughter of Mohammed Atta, who was the lead hijacker and a assumed mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks.
Citing letters recovered from the Abbottabad, Pakistan compound where bin Laden was found, Osama was apparently "grooming Hamza to replace him as leader" of the terror network, according to the US government press release.
While the global manhunt is on, United Nations member nations are required to to freeze Hamza bin Laden's assets and to enforce an arms and travel ban on Hamza.
Long considered bin Laden's "favorite son," Hamza was not at the compound with his parents when his father was killed. Immediately after Osama's death Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian longtime leader of the Islamic Jihad terror group, took over leadership.
The CIA released the last known video of Hamza bin Laden in 2017, said to be filmed as part of a wedding ceremony.
However, over the past few years it's believed that Hamza has come the new "charismatic" face of al-Qaeda, especially after al-Qaeda in 2015 released an audio message from Hamza, which urged followers across the Middle East and central Asia to wage jihad on Washington, London, Paris and Tel Aviv.
The US State Department had called the sanction a "powerful tool" for mobilizing a new wave of terror recruits.
Zabihullah (known Afg Taliban spox) release video of Hamza bin Laden in Ghazni province giving bayah/oath of allegaince to Mullah Omar in 2002.— Trilochana (@Trilochana888) January 1, 2019
Hamza is fondly protected by Afg Taliban with pride. pic.twitter.com/sKjbCPjn1J
However, al-Qaeda leadership in the Levant, which has long been active and gaining experience in the Syrian war and in Idlib, appears to be the more militarily powerful threat.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul once called Idlib "a jihadi wonderland" and lamented that instead of allowing regional forces like Syria and Russia to uproot the terror safe-haven, Washington has long actually seemed more interested in protecting it.