US 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 in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
Defence-point had reported more than a month ago, citing Middle east media and intelligence officials, that the younger Bin Laden had been killed sometime in the last two years in an operation that involved the United States.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said last month that it was “his understanding” that Bin Laden was dead.
But Trump had not publicly confirmed the news until Saturday — three days after the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks by Al-Qaeda, and a week after Trump’s surprise announcement that a planned secret meeting with Taliban leaders at the Camp David presidential retreat had fallen through.
“Hamza bin Laden, the high-ranking al-Qaeda member and son of Osama bin Laden, was killed in a United States counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region,” Trump said in a brief statement issued by the White House.
“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.”
The statement did not specify the timing of the operation, or how his death had been confirmed.
Considerable uncertainty surrounded the details, with the White House only vaguely specifying the location of Bin Laden’s long-rumored 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.