Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden, who was viewed as an eventual heir to the leadership of al Qaeda and who had repeatedly threatened to attack the United States, is dead, according to two US officials. Details of the strike that killed him were scarce, including when and where. The US government played a role in the operation, but it was not clear how, according to the officials, who discussed his death on the condition of anonymity because it involved sensitive operations and intelligence gathering, report agencies.
Hamza bin Laden was killed sometime during the first two years of the Trump administration officials said. He was killed before the State Department announced a $1 million reward for information on his whereabouts in February, but US military and intelligence agencies had not confirmed his death by then.
Though bin Laden carried a prominent name and lineage, the news of his death represented more of a symbolic victory for the American government than the removal of a threat. Al Qaeda has not carried out a large-scale attack in years, and though bin Laden was being groomed to eventually take over the group, that time appeared to be well into the future.
Bin Laden was likely operating on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, said Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
President Donald Trump was asked Wednesday about the death, first reported by NBC News, but he declined to comment. The location of bin Laden had been the subject of public speculation. After the Sept 11, 2001, attacks, he and other members of al Qaeda fled to Iran, where they were detained. He was eventually allowed to leave Iran, then reportedly moved with his family to the Pakistan border region. At one point, intelligence showed that he had travelled to Syria in the past several years, former officials have said.
The CIA has devastated al Qaeda, relentlessly targeting its operatives after 9/11. The agency killed another son, Saad bin Laden, in a drone strike in 2009. Another son, Khalid, was killed in the 2011 Abbottabad raid.