The U.S. has named Hamza a "specially designated global terrorist" -- the same classification his father once held. He even sounds like his father, says Soufan. "His recent message that came out, he delivered the speech as if it's his father…using sentences, terminology that was used by Osama bin Laden."
Hamza has recorded four audio messages in the last two years. Soufan believes Hamza can inspire and unite the jihadi movement. Says Soufan, "He's basically saying, 'American people, we're coming and you're going to feel it. And we're going to take revenge for what you did to my father…Iraq…Afghanistan'…the whole thing was about vengeance."
Al Qaeda now has footholds in about a dozen countries and has grown since the Arab Spring revolts destabilized regimes and created power vacuums. In Syria alone it's estimated to have about 20,000 followers, many in control of towns and villages. Some groups are eschewing the name al Qaeda to avoid attention from the West and gain local support, but they are al Qaeda affiliates, says Soufan.
"Al Qaeda is stronger than ever. I don't believe even bin Laden in his wildest dreams thought that he will have followers who command armies, troops…lands…," Soufan says.