“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."
The son of Osama bin Laden and the reported Al-Qaeda leader was killed in a U.S. counter-terrorism operation, the White House said on Saturday.
"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," a statement attributed to the president released by the White House on Saturday said.
A White House statement said the operation took place 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,” the statement said.
Hamza, believed to be about 30 years old, was at his father’s side in Afghanistan before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. He also spent time with his father in Pakistan after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan pushed much of al Qaeda’s senior leadership there, according to the Brookings Institution.
Hamza's last known public appearance was in 2018. The 30-year-old al-Qaeda veteran had positioned himself as successor to his father since 2015, and had been involved with the terror group since he was a teenager.
In 2017, Hamza reportedly oversaw the creation of a new franchise of al-Qaeda in Syria, with the terror group consisting of former Nusra and Daesh (ISIS) fighters and declaring war on pretty much everyone, from Syria and Russia to secular Arab governments, Turkey, the US, the UK and various Shia militias.
The U.S. State Department designated Hamza a global terrorist in 2017 after he called for acts of terrorism in Western capitals and threatened to take revenge against the United States for killing his father.
Reuters reported on July 31 that Hamza had been killed, citing a U.S. official with knowledge of the matter. But Saturday’s statement represents the first time the U.S. government has confirmed the operation.