New Delhi, Sep 14, 2019 : United States President Donald Trump on Saturday confirmed that Hamza Bin Laden, the son and designated heir of Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, was killed in a counter-terrorism operation along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border as to News18.
"The loss of Hamza bin Laden not only deprives Al-Qaeda of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father, but undermines important operational activities of the group," Trump said in a statement issued by the White House.
However, Trump did not specify where Hamza was killed and under what circumstances.
Hamza’s last known public statement was released by al-Qaeda’s media arm in 2018. In that message, he had threatened Saudi Arabia and called on the people of the Arabian peninsula to revolt. Saudi Arabia stripped him of his citizenship in March this year.
US media reported at the beginning of August that Hamza was killed during the last two years in an operation that involved the US, citing US intelligence officials. But Trump and other senior officials so far had refused to confirm or deny it publicly.
US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper last month had confirmed Hamza’s death.
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," the State Department said in announcing a $1 million bounty on his head in February 2019 -- perhaps after his actual demise.
Sometimes dubbed the "crown prince of jihad," he had put out audio and video messages calling for attacks on the United States and other countries, especially to avenge his father’s killing by US forces in Pakistan in May 2011, the department said.
That work made him important in attracting a new generation of followers to the extremist group which carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US which left nearly 3,000 dead.
His father’s death in 2011 and the rise of the more virulent Islamic State group saw Al-Qaeda lose currency with younger jihadists, but the group appears to have been plotting a stealthy comeback under leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.