The Al-Qaida terror network may be attempting to usurp the Islamic State as the face of radical Islamic terrorism by promoting deceased al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza, The Washington Post reports.
The younger bin Laden has increasingly appeared in propaganda materials for the terrorist group with a starkly different message than its older leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri.
“Al-Qaida is trying to use the moment — [with ISIS] being under attack — to offer jihadists a new alternative,” a Middle Eastern security official told The Washington Post. “What could be more effective than a bin Laden?”
The younger bin Laden refrains from explicitly criticizing ISIS in his propaganda messages, unlike Zawahiri. His apparent unwillingness to attack the rival terrorist group may be a long term ploy to get allegiance from ISIS members after the caliphate in Iraq and Syria collapses. “The calculation is that it will be very difficult for the Daesh leadership to denounce Hamza, given who he is,” a bin Laden family friend told The Washington Post, using another name from ISIS.