Hamza bin Laden, the son of former Al Qaeda leader and 9/11 mastermind Osama, has been killed in a counter-terrorism operation along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Donald Trump has confirmed.
US media reported in late July and early August, citing intelligence officials, that the younger Bin Laden had been killed sometime in the last two years in an operation that involved the United States.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed the death last month, saying it was ‘his understanding’ that bin Laden was dead, but Trump and other senior officials had not publicly confirmed the news.
But in a statement released by the White House Saturday morning, Trump said the high-ranking Al Qaeda member, ‘was killed in a United States counter-terrorism operation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region.’
Hamza bin Laden, (pictured), the son of former Al Qaeda leader and 9/11 mastermind Osama, was killed in a counter-terrorism operation, the White House confirmed
Hamza bin Laden (left as a child) is the son of deceased former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden (right) who is believed to have groomed him to take over the terror group
‘The loss will not only deprives al -Qa’ida of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father, but undermines important operational activities of the group,’ the statement said.
‘Hamza bin Ladin was responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups,’ it added.
NBC had reported about bin Laden’s death in July after obtaining information from U.S. intelligence sources.
He is thought to have died sometime before March but within the past two years, though information confirming his death only came to light at the end of July, according to two intelligence officials cited by the New York Times.
The U.S. government had a role in the operation that killed Hamza bin Laden, but it was not clear precisely what that role was, the sources said.
In March, when the death had not yet been confirmed, the State Department put out a $1 million bounty for information leading to the capture of Hamza bin Laden, who would have been roughly age 30 and was one of at least 23 children that Osama bin Laden had with five women.
A United Nations report published last year noted that Hamza bin Laden ‘continued to emerge as a leadership figure in al-Qaida.’
It suggested both he and Ayman al-Zawahiri, who took over al-Qaida after Osama bin Laden’s death, ‘are reported to be in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border areas.’
As the leader of al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden and others plotted the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. U.S. Navy SEALs killed him in a raid on a house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in 2011.
Donald Trump confirmed news of Hamza bin Ladin’s death on Saturday morning
An undated handout from the US Department of State showing a ‘Wanted’ poster for Hamza bin Laden, whose death was confirmed by the White House on Saturday
According to U.S. authorities, Hamza bin Laden carried forward the radial jihadist ambitions of his deceased father, who was the leader of Al-Qaeda and masterminded the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
Hamza bin Laden released audio and video messages on the Internet, calling on his followers to launch attacks against the United States and its Western allies, according to the Department of Justice.
He also threatened attacks against the U.S. in revenge for the May 2011 killing of his father by SEAL Team 6 inside a compound in Pakistan.
Hamza bin Laden’s last known public statement was released by Al-Qaeda’s media arm in 2018, in which he called for followers in Saudi Arabia to rise in revolt against the monarchy.
Hamza bin Laden is married to a daughter of Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, an Al-Qaeda senior leader who was indicted and charged by a federal grand jury in November 1998 for his role in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
Hamza bin Laden (left) is seen as a child playing with helicopter wreckage in terrorist training videos. The Taliban said the wreckage is from a U.S. helicopter that went down
The 15th of Osama bin Laden’s 20 children and a son of his third wife, Hamza, thought to be about 30 years old, was ’emerging as a leader in the Al-Qaeda franchise’
A video of Hamza’s wedding was found in Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound and released by the CIA in 2017.
Letters seized from the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed indicate that he was grooming Hamza to replace him as leader of Al-Qaeda.
Hamza bin Laden is believed to have been born in 1989 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The location of Hamza bin Laden, sometimes dubbed the ‘crown prince of jihad’, has been the subject of speculation for years with reports of him living in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, and Iran.
Some believed that he spent years with his mother in Iran, despite Al-Qaeda’s strident denunciations of the Shiite branch of Islam that dominates the country.
Osama bin Laden’s death and the rise of the more virulent Islamic State group saw Al-Qaeda lose currency with younger jihadists
The extremist group carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, which left nearly 3,000 dead. Victims and survivors were remembered on the 18th anniversary of the atrocity earlier this week
Observers speculated that the clerical regime in Tehran kept him under house arrest as a way to maintain pressure on rival Saudi Arabia as well as on Al-Qaeda, dissuading the Sunni militants from attacking Iran.
On March 1, 2019, Saudi Arabia announced that it had revoked Hamza bin Laden’s citizenship, concurrent with the reward being announced by U.S. authorities.
At that time, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden exclusively told DailyMailTV that he believed Hamza bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan, protected by drug lords.
‘I’ve heard the Iranian thing, I’m not buying a lot of that. I think they did keep some Al-Qaeda guys in there just because the ‘enemy of my enemy is my friend,’ Rob O’Neill said.
Hamza bin Laden threatened attacks against the U.S. in revenge for the May 2011 killing of his father by SEAL Team 6 inside a compound in Pakistan. Pictured is the interior bedroom in the mansion where he was killed
Then-President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the White House in May 2011
O’Neill told host Jesse Palmer: ‘I liked that the State Department put out $1 million rewards even though I think he’s worth more than that. It’s a lot of money for someone that might turn him in – but $5 million is better. The more they offer, the more chances that someone’s going to turn him in.
‘It will come down to human intelligence – who saw him and where. You have to wade through the lies because a lot of people will say they saw him now, to try and get the money.’
Osama bin Laden’s death and the rise of the more virulent Islamic State group saw Al-Qaeda lose currency with younger jihadists.
But the proliferation of branches and associated jihadist groups in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere have underscored its continuing potency.
Documents seized in the raid on his father’s house in Abbottabad, Pakistan suggested Hamza was being groomed as heir to the Al-Qaeda leadership.
US forces also found a video of Hamza’s wedding to the daughter of another senior Al-Qaeda official that is believed to have taken place in Iran.
In 2017, Hamza was placed on the US terror blacklist, seen as a potential future figurehead for the group then led by Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Al-Qaeda’s September 11, 2001 attacks were the largest terrorist loss of life on U.S. soil, claiming the lives of 2,977 victims and sparked the U.S. intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan.
O’Neill was a member of SEAL Team 6 which stormed Osama bin Laden’s compound under cover of darkness in Abbottabad, Pakistan, almost eight years ago after a decade of work by multiple U.S. military intelligence agencies had pinpointed a concrete location.