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U.S. says Hamza bin Laden, son and heir to Al-Qaida founder, is dead

  • COURTESY CIA

    Hamza bin Laden is seen as an adult at his wedding. The never-before-seen video of Osama bin Laden’s son and potential successor was released Nov. 1, 2017, by the CIA in a trove of material recovered during the May 2011 raid that killed the al-Qaida leader at his compound in Pakistan. The one hourlong video shows Hamza bin Laden, sporting a trimmed mustache but no beard, at his wedding. He is sitting on a carpet with other men.

WASHINGTON >> Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden, who was long viewed as heir to the leadership of al-Qaida and who had repeatedly threatened to attack the United States, is dead, according to two U.S. officials.

Hamza bin Laden was killed in the past two years, during the Trump administration, but it took time to confirm his death, the officials said.

In February, the State Department announced a $1 million reward for information about his whereabouts. However, by then, Hazma bin Laden had been killed — but his death had not yet been confirmed by the military and intelligence agencies.

The United States government had a role in the operation that killed the younger bin Laden, but it was not clear precisely what that role was. Details, including where it happened, were scarce. The officials discussed his death on the condition of anonymity because it involved sensitive operations and intelligence gathering.

The location of bin Laden had been the subject of public speculation. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, members of al-Qaida, including Hazma bin Laden, fled to Iran, where they were detained. Since then, bin Laden had been reported to be in the Afghanistan and Pakistan border region, as well as in Syria, analysts and former officials have said.

President Donald Trump was asked Wednesday about the death, first reported by NBC News, but he declined to comment.

After the 2011 death of Osama bin Laden in a SEAL Team 6 raid in Pakistan, Hamza bin Laden was being groomed for the top leadership role in al-Qaida by two of his father’s lieutenants. He married a daughter of one of them.

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