'Crown prince of terror' - bin Laden son hunted

Last updated 11:48 11/05/2011
An undated Al Jazeera television picture purportedly shows Hamza bin Osama bin Laden.
CROWN PRINCE OF TERROR?: An undated Al Jazeera television picture purportedly shows Hamza bin Laden, one of the sons of Osama bin Laden, displaying what the Taliban claimed is wreckage from a US helicopter near Ghazni.

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The youngest son of Osama bin Laden disappeared from the Pakistani compound where his father was shot dead in a bloody confrontation with a crack team of US Navy Seals, it has been reported.

Hamza bin Laden, known as the crown prince of terror, has not been seen since the operation on May 2, raising fears that he may have evaded capture.

Three of bin Laden's widows, who are in custody in Pakistan, have told authorities that they cannot account for the whereabouts of the 20-year-old, according to The Daily Telegraph in London.

US officials originally claimed that Hamza, a close confidant of bin Laden, had been killed in the Abbottabad raid, but later said it was his 22-year-old brother Khalid had been killed.

Bin Laden had at least fives wives and 23 children, and intelligence agencies fear Hamza was being groomed as a possible future leader of al-Qaeda.

Hamza's mother is reportedly among the three widows being held by Pakistan intelligence.

She is thought to be Khairiah Sabar, who married bin Laden in 1985.

A Pakistani intelligence source told The Telegraph that the widows' testimony, as well as differing accounts of what happened during the raid, meant they could not account for one person who they believe had been living at the house.

"We don't know if it was his son. Someone, one person, may have been in the compound that we now cannot account for if we believe what we are being told," the source said.

Hamza was implicated in the assassination of the late Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto, who died in a suicide attack in December 2007.

He was named by Bhutto in her memoirs Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West, published after her death.

Hamza also featured on an extremist website to mark the third anniversary of the July 7, 2005 bombings in London that killed 52 people.

He read a poem in which he was described as the Crown Prince of Terror, and called for the destruction of the US, UK, France and Denmark.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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