Osama Bin Laden’s Son Hamza Finally Confirmed Dead By US Officials
Osama bin Laden’s son, Hamza, has been confirmed dead by US officials.
The White House released a statement on the matter yesterday (September 14), explaining the ‘high-ranking al-Qa’ida member’ was ‘killed in a United States counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region’.
Osama founded al-Qaeda in the late 1980s and Hamza was widely considered to be a potential successor to his father.
The date of Hamza’s death was not included in the statement, and while it has only just been announced there has been speculation the man, believed to have been in his early 30s, died in an airstrike sometime during President Trump’s first two years in office, the New York Post report.
Two defence officials spoke to CNN in July about Hamza, reportedly saying the US had a role in his death. The officials, who are said to have had knowledge of the operation, told the news outlet Osama’s son had been killed at least several months prior.
While the timeline of Hamza’s death is unclear, yesterday’s statement was the first time the news was confirmed by the president.
Following the announcement, US officials told CNN the administration wanted to make sure it explored all angles and gathered all of the intelligence it could before making the announcement.
Hamza was said to be responsible for ‘planning and dealing with various terrorist groups’, and in January 2017 the State Department dubbed him a ‘specially designated global terrorist’. This February, officials put a bounty of $1 million on his head.
Al Qaeda released Hamza’s last confirmed public statement in March 2018, in which he focused on threats against Saudi Arabia.
Peter Bergen, director of the international security programme at the New America foundation, told The Guardian in July Al Qaeda was ‘clearly grooming’ Hamza to be a next generation successor.
Ayman al-Zawahiri [al-Qaida’s official leader] hasn’t been a particularly effective leader. He’s got a sort of charisma deficit. And they were trying to put this guy forward.
The statement from the White House added:
The loss of Hamza bin Ladin 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 has not mentioned Hamza’s death on Twitter, though he did retweet the chairperson of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, who shared the news and said Trump is ‘fully committed to defending America and bringing terrorists to justice.’
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