Trump confirms death of Osama bin Laden’s son in US counter-terrorism operation

WASHINGTON – Osama bin Laden’s son, Hamza bin Laden, a high-ranking leader of the militant al-Qaida terrorist group, was killed in a U.S. counter-terrorism operation, the White House confirmed on Saturday.

President Donald Trump announced bin Laden’s death, which had been widely reported more than a month ago, in a statement that did not provide details about how or when he was killed.

“The loss of Hamza bin Ladin not only deprives al-Qaida of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father, but undermines important operational activities of the group,” Trump said in a statement. “Hamza bin Ladin was responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups.” 

A screen grab from an undated handout video made available by the Central Intelligence Agency shows Hamza bin Laden, the son of late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. (Photo: CIA HANDOUT, EPA-EFE)

In February, the State Department said Hamza was emerging as the new leader of al-Qaida, which plotted and executed the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., and the agency offered a $1 million reward for information on him. He was thought to be about 30 years old and based somewhere near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. 

His father was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs in Pakistan in 2011. Letters found by the Navy SEALs during the raid on his hideout showed that Hamza had asked his father to train him to follow in his footsteps, and that the elder bin Laden was preparing him for the role.

Osama bin Laden was believed to have fathered at least 20 children with half a dozen wives and was himself the 17th of 52 children. The letters uncovered in the raid after his death suggest that Hamza was one of his favorites.

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