The hunt for Hamza Bin Laden

Pakistani officials say that one of bin Laden’s wives said a son had escaped, and that they had come to believe it was true. The U.S. insists there’s no way that anyone got away. If Hamza did flee, though, it could be bad news for the world: The young man—a dead ringer for his father—is perhaps the most militant scion of the bin Laden family, a violent, seasoned jihadist before his 18th birthday who is known as “the Crown Prince of Terror.”…

Although his already lengthy résumé has earned him the mantle of “Crown Prince of Terror,” the label isn’t perfect. No one expects Hamza, now 21, or any of his siblings to take over al Qaeda, with that task likely going to a more experienced leader such as Ayman al-Zawahri (who once took care of the little boy after part of a crumbling Afghan building fell on him). But the charisma that made Hamza a star of jihadist videos as mascot-cum-warrior could translate into even greater fame as he matures into a battle-hardened mujahid, cultivates his ties with al Qaeda’s highest levels, and gains new status as the son of the martyred Osama bin Laden. His father’s death may be a relief to the U.S., but whether Hamza escaped from his father’s compound or wasn’t there to begin with, the son may soon be a thorn in the American side in his own right.

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