The son of late al-Qaeda leader, Hamza bin Laden was confirmed dead by the United States President Donald Trump. On Saturday, the White House announced that Osama bin Laden’s son, who became a prominent part of the terrorist network, was killed by the US in a counter terrorism operation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
Issued in the name of Trump, the statement came more than a month after officials declared to have killed him. No further details on when he was killed or how America confirmed his death were provided. As per the reports, the administration officials would not provide any information beyond the already issued three-sentence statement. American officials said that there are indications that the CIA, instead of the US military, may have conducted the strike.
In a statement released by the White House, President Trump said that Hamza bin Laden was “responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups”. He added that Hamza’s death is a major setback for al-Qaeda’s leadership discernment, and at the same time, symbolic given the connection to his father, who was killed in 2011 during a Navy SEAL raid on his Pakistani refuge. Osama bin Laden’s son was also held “responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups”.
In July, the US officials had suspected that Hamza bin Laden was dead, citing intelligence reports and the fact that he hadn’t been heard from some time. In an August interview with Fox News, Defense secretary Mark Esper said that it was “my understanding” that the younger bin Laden was dead.
Hamza has also been viewed as an eventual heir to the leadership of al-Qaeda. The terrorist group’s leader Ayman al-Zawahri had also praise him once in 2015, calling him a “lion from the den of al-Qaeda” in a video that was released on the Jihadi websites.
In February, the US government had raised an offer of $1 million for help in tracking down Hamza bin Laden, as part of the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program. As per the Department’s notice, he was married to a daughter of an Egyptian al-Qaida leader Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah. The couple was said to have two children, Osama and Khairiah, named after Hamza’s parents.
Hamza bin Laden is believed to be aged around 30 years, and has remained under house arrest in Iran for nearly a decade. “[Al-Qaida was] clearly grooming him to be a next generation successor,” Peter Bergen, director of the international security programme at the New America foundation, told The Guardian in July.
In January 2017, Hamza bin Laden was named a “specially designated global terrorist”, who released audio and video messages calling for violence against the US and its allies. He was last heard threatening the Saudi Arabian regime, in March 2018. This year, the Arab nation stripped him off Saudi citizenship.
While the United States announced Hamza bin Laden dead, the terrorist network al-Qaeda has not released any statement. However, US President Trump hailed the killing of Osama’s son as a victorious moment.