The US has obtained intelligence that Osama bin Laden’s son and potential successor as al Qaeda leader is dead, according to three US officials.
The officials would not provide details of where or when Hamza bin Laden died or if the US played a role in his death. It is unclear if the US has confirmed his death, NBC News reported.
Asked by reporters on Wednesday whether the US 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 US. 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 9/11 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 compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Hamza was not found at the time. 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 organisation his father founded”.
“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.”
In February, the US State Department announced it would pay as much as $1m for information on Hamza bin Laden’s whereabouts.
The department’s Rewards for Justice Program described him as “an emerging al Qaeda leader” who “has threatened attacks against the United States and allies”.