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Nearly half a million files from bin Laden raid released by CIA

Video of Osama bin Laden's son and potential successor has been released by the CIA as part of a trove of material recovered during the May 2011 raid that killed the al Qaida leader at his compound in Pakistan.

The previously unseen video offers the first public look at Hamza bin Laden as an adult as, until now, the public has only seen childhood pictures of him.

In recent years, al Qaida has released audio messages from Hamza bin Laden, who is expected to rise to prominence in the jihadist movement and is being closely watched as the rival Islamic State organisation suffers setbacks in the Middle East.

One hour-long video shows Hamza bin Laden, sporting a trimmed moustache but no beard, at his wedding.

A man chanting Quranic verses can be heard in the background and bin Laden, sporting a traditional white headdress, verbally accepts his marriage to his bride "on the book of God and the example of the prophet. Peace be upon him."

"Takbeer!" the others shout, marking his marriage with a kind of religious hooray.

It was the fourth trove of documents, images and computer files recovered during the raid of bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, with earlier materials released in May 2015, March 2016 and in January of this year.

The CIA said the nearly 470,000 additional files offer insights into the inner workings of the terrorist organisation responsible for the September 11 attacks and detail its clashes with the Islamic State group, a spin-off of al Qaida's operation in Iraq.

They also shed light on hardships that al Qaida faced at the time of bin Laden's death.

Included is a 228-page, handwritten personal journal of bin Laden and about 79,000 images and audio files, including practice reels of public speeches.

Also included in the material is information about how al Qaida planned to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the network's efforts to spread its message through Western media, to exploit the Arab uprisings in 2011.

In addition, documents covered bin Laden's quest to keep his organisation together amid disagreements over beliefs and operational tactics and the organisation's work to burnish its image with fellow Muslims amid negative media.

The CIA said there are still unreleased files, including materials that are sensitive to national security, protected by copyright, and blank, corrupted and duplicate files.

Not all the material, however, was of a serious nature.

There was a video known as Charlie bit my finger depicting a boy and his baby brother who bit his finger. There also were YouTube videos about crochet, including one entitled "How to Crochet a Flower".

And bin Laden's video collection included Antz, a 1990s animated adventure comedy about an ant colony, Chicken Little and The Three Musketeers.

Also in the collection were Where in the World is Osama bin Laden and several National Geographic programs: Kung Fu Killers, 'Inside the Green Berets and World's Worst Venom.


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