WASHINGTON — The United States has obtained intelligence that the son and potential successor of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Hamza bin Laden, is dead, according to three U.S. officials.
The officials would not provide details of where or when Hamza bin Laden died or if the U.S. played a role in his death.
Asked by reporters on Wednesday whether the U.S. had intelligence that Hamza is dead, President Donald Trump said, “I don’t want to comment on that.”
Hamza bin Laden’s last known public statement was released by al Qaeda’s media arm in 2018. In that message, he threatened Saudi Arabia and called on the people of the Arabian peninsula to revolt.
Hamza bin Laden is believed to have been born around 1989. His father moved to Afghanistan in 1996 and declared war against the U.S. Hamza went with him and appeared in al Qaeda propaganda videos. As leader of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden oversaw operations against Western targets that culminated in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and on the Pentagon.
Navy SEALS killed Osama bin Laden in 2011 during a raid on his Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound. Hamza was not found at the compound. Letters seized from the compound suggested the elder bin Laden wanted his son to join him in Abbottabad and was grooming him as a leader.
In a September 2017 article, counterterror expert and former FBI agent Ali Soufan said, “Hamza is being prepared for a leadership role in the organization his father founded” and is “likely to be perceived favorably by the jihadi rank-and-file. With the Islamic State’s ‘caliphate’ apparently on the verge of collapse, Hamza is now the figure best placed to reunify the global jihadi movement.”
The department’s Rewards for Justice Program described the younger bin Laden on Twitter as “an emerging al Qaeda leader” who “has threatened attacks against the United States and allies.”
Apparently he’s been dead for some time but it took until now to confirm his death.
The world is a better place with him in the ground.
One detail in the NYT reporting on this is that Hamza bin Ladin was already believed dead by Feb 2019, as you mentioned. This begs question why AQ has not to date released a eulogy. Not to do so would be highly unusual for such a key figure.
As bad as AQ has been hurting for the last two years it’s entirely plausible they wanted to keep his death a secret as long as possible and since we hadn’t announced it there was no need for them to make it public.
How many times has the U.S. and Europe believed Mokhtar Belmokhtar has died? About 10 now? This could be another one of these death confirmations that turns out to be incorrect.
If this happened a while ago why are we just hearing about it now?
Iran. Hamza Bin Laden and others in the upper circle were supposedly hid in Iran and were kept in a safehaven there by the IRGC Quds Force, for almost a decade (2003-2011) before returning to a Pakistan FATA area.
So if Bolton and Pompeo keep pushing for war with Iran this will be used as “proof” that we should attack them for protecting Hamza Bin Laden.
This is probably why President Trump refuses to comment on this. He knows he’s getting played.
Good news and no need to be dramatic about it.
Bad news…aren’t there like 24 other “sons” of bin laden…
Yeah Osama had a bunch of wives and kids but apparently this guy was the most nuts and really wanted to kill lots of people. Another one bites the dust!
Wikipedia could only narrow it down to 20 to 26.
Now we find the next craziest radical offspring and eliminate that line of succession.
Seems like another one of those endless “second-in-command” jihadists that kept being killed during all the Iraq fighting. Seemed like “second in command” was the most dangerous job in the jihad.