US President Trump says Osama bin Laden's son killed

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Donald Trump at the Pentagon on September 11, 2019
Image: Shealah Craighead/WH.

On Saturday, in a brief but official statement, US President Donald Trump said Hamza bin Laden, son of the late Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, has been killed in a US counter-terrorism operation. The statement specified no date or exact location. The alleged death of Hamza was previously in the news at the end of July based on unconfirmed reports.

Trump's statement read: "Hamza bin Ladin, the high-ranking al-Qa’ida member and son of Usama bin Ladin, was killed in a United States counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. The loss of Hamza bin Ladin 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. Hamza bin Ladin was responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups."

On July 31, multiple news outlets reported Hamza bin Laden to be dead citing sources within the United States Department of Defense. Per reports, the sources said he died within two years before, perhaps within a few months, but the US had only recently come to believe he was dead. The press asked Trump about it that same day, but he declined to comment.

Retired FBI agent and terrorism specialist Ali Soufan told NPR Hamza bin Laden had appeared in Al-Qaeda videos since he was a young boy and his father saw a leadership role for him. Hamza bridged a generational gap between newer Al-Qaeda members and veteran members, according to Soufan.

The US State Department described Hamza bin Laden in March of this year as an "emerging" figure in the Al-Qaeda organization when they offered a one million US dollar reward for information leading to his capture.

Osama bin Laden founded Al-Qaeda and orchestrated the 9/11 attacks on the US of 2001. Osama was killed by US special forces in Pakistan in 2011.