Tens of thousands of documents obtained by U.S. Navy SEALs during the 2011 mission to kill Osama Bin Laden were released by the CIA Wednesday.
Some of the most significant finds within the documents included a video of Bin Laden’s son Hamza’s marriage ceremony, a summary of Iranian assistance to the Al-Qaida network, and how deeply involved Bin Laden was in day-to-day operations of the terrorist group. These finds were a result of an advanced look at the documents by the Foundation for Defense of Democracy’s Long War Journal.
Al-Qaida has promoted Hamza Bin Laden as a senior figure in recent years since his father’s demise in a likely move to capitalize on his brand name. A newly released video by the CIA “show scenes from Hamza’s wedding, publicly revealing his face as a young adult for the first time.” The younger Bin Laden has borrowed from the ISIS playbook in some of his propaganda by increasingly encouraging low-cost lone wolf attacks in the West.
Newly released files include first known images of al-Qaeda heir apparent Hamza bin Laden as an adult: pic.twitter.com/6fuQDHuyMo
— Long War Journal (@LongWarJournal) November 1, 2017
The documents also shed light on Iranian connections to Al-Qaida. One of the documents “explains that Iran offered some ‘Saudi brothers’ in al Qaeda ‘everything they needed,’ including ‘money, arms’ and ‘training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon, in exchange for striking American interests in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf,'” according to The Long War Journal. The document also describes how an “Iranian intelligence facilitated the travel of some operatives with visas, while sheltering others.”
The CIA release similarly sheds light on Bin Laden’s active participation in day-to-day operations for Al-Qaida from his Abbotabad, Pakistan hideaway. “He was not a mere figurehead. During the final months of his life, Osama bin Laden was communicating with subordinates around the globe. Recovered memos discuss the various committees and lieutenants who helped bin Laden manage his sprawling empire of terror,” LWJ elaborates.
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