US officials claim Washington has intelligence that the son and possible successor of Osama bin Laden has been killed, NBC reports. As of yet, the officials have provided few additional details.
Three US officials who requested anonymity told NBC that Hamza bin Laden – son of terror leader and founder of al-Qeada Osama bin Laden – has been killed. The circumstances of his death, or whether there was American involvement, are not clear.
Hamza bin Laden gave his last known public statement to the al-Qaeda group’s media arm in 2018, threatening Saudi Arabia with attack and calling for the overthrow of the Saudi monarchy, but has not been heard from since.
According to former FBI agent and counter terrorism expert Ali Soufan, Hamza was “being prepared for a leadership role in the organization his father founded,” and would likely be looked on favorably by the “jihadi rank-and-file” were he to take on that role.
Born around 1989 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Hamza has been wanted for some time by the FBI for ties to terror groups. He was thought to travel frequently between Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Iran, according to the FBI. Hamza was also reportedly married to the daughter of a senior al-Qaeda leader, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, who operates under the alias Abu Muhammad al Masri. Abdullah is wanted for his role in embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
The FBI had offered a reward of up to $1 million for information that would lead to Hamza’s whereabouts.
Hamza’s father, Osama bin Laden, helped to found al-Qaeda, the Islamist militant group notorious for the 2001 September 11 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people. Osama was killed in a US Navy SEAL raid in 2011 while in hiding in Pakistan.