Friday 18 October 2019

Trump confirms Bin Laden's successor son was killed by US

Osama and a teenage Hamza bin Laden
Osama and a teenage Hamza bin Laden

Ben Riley-Smith

Hamza Bin Laden, the son of Osama bin Laden, was killed in a US counter-terrorism operation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, Donald Trump confirmed yesterday.

US media reported the death of the younger Bin Laden over the summer and the US defence secretary, appeared to confirm it in an interview in August. But the statement issued by the US president yesterday was the first official confirmation.

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The White House said the 30-year-old Hamza was killed in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region but gave no other details, such as when or how. He had been playing an increasingly prominent role in the terrorist group once led by his father, but had not been heard from since March 2018.

"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 read.

As al-Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden oversaw a string of attacks on US targets, most notoriously the terrorist atrocity which killed 2,977 people on September 11, 2001.

The US invasion of Afghanistan which followed the 9/11 attack saw the bin Laden family separate as they went on the run. Hamza bin Laden was aged 12 at the time.

In May 2011, US Navy Seals killed Osama and another of his sons, Khalid, in a raid.

Hamza resurfaced in a jihadi video in 2015 in which Ayman al-Zawahri, the group's leader, introduced him as "a lion from the den of al-Qaeda". After that, he featured in a series of al-Qaeda messages.

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