The White House confirmed Saturday that Osama bin Laden’s son, a “high-ranking” member of the al-Qaida terror group, has been killed following a United States military operation.
Rumors of Hamza bin Laden’s death had been circulating for more than a month, with sources reporting the administration may have known as early as July but declined to comment in any official capacity.
President Donald Trump confirmed those reports Saturday in a brief news release, saying the prominent heir to al-Qaida had been killed in a “counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region.”
No other details on the operation were disclosed.
But the president did say the result was an important “symbolic” and “operational” victory for U.S. interests both at home and in the region.
WH statement confirming the widely reported death of bin Laden’s son Hamza. pic.twitter.com/XuvrLpeCIm
— Andrew deGrandpre (@adegrandpre) September 14, 2019
“The loss of Hamza bin Ladin not only deprives al-Qa’ida of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father,” Trump said, “but undermines important operational activities of the group.”
“Hamza bin Ladin was responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups,” he added.
Hamza bin Laden had not been present on May 2, 2011, when U.S. Navy SEALS stormed an al-Qaida compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, killing his father and brother nearly a decade after the Sep. 11, 2001 terror attacks, according to The Associated Press.
Since his father’s death, Hamza bin Laden had risen in the ranks of the terror organization.
The Guardian reported he first appeared in al-Qaida propaganda videos as a teenager.
WANTED. Up to $1 million for information on Hamza bin Laden, an emerging al-Qa’ida leader. Hamza is son of Usama bin Laden and has threatened attacks against the United States and allies. Relocation possible. Submit a tip, get paid. https://t.co/LtBVhsrwTc #RFJ pic.twitter.com/gmx5hkoSzQ
— Rewards for Justice (@Rewards4Justice) February 28, 2019
“During the family’s time in Iran after 9/11, Hamza was mentored by Abu al-Khayr al-Masri, who was deputy to al-Qaida’s current leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri,” according to The Guardian.
The U.S. State Department had in February offered a reward of $1 million for information on bin Laden’s whereabouts.
Reports indicate, however, that bin Laden’s death may have occurred at some point over the last two years.
But intelligence sources reportedly invested considerable time in confirming his identity before releasing any information to the public.
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