New intelligence reportedly suggests that Osama bin Laden's son, Hamza, is dead. Hamza bin Laden was regarded as his father's "heir" within the Al Qaeda terrorist organization, but on Wednesday U.S. officials claimed that he is now dead.
The details are few and far between on this story. According to a report by NBC News, U.S. intelligence officials told journalists in Washington, D.C. that Hamza bin Laden is dead. However, it is still unclear whether this death was officially confirmed by U.S. agencies, and officials did not say whether the U.S. played a part in it.
Hamza bin Laden is believed to have been born in 1989. He was with his father through much of his terrorist activity in the last several decades, even moving with him to Afghanistan in 1996. He even appeared in some al Qaeda propaganda over the years, and was poised to take over his father's leadership role in the organization.
Hamza's last big public statement came in March of 2018. At the time, he spoke through al Qaeda's media outlet, urging the people of the Arabian Peninsula to revolt against Saudi Arabia. This was a reiteration of several previous messages.
However, his most memorable outburst to the U.S. came in January of 2016. At the time al Qaeda's media team released an audio message from Hamza himself threatening the United States with revenge for his father's death. He also stated that Americans would be targeted both at home and abroad by terrorist attacks.
Asked about the emerging reports of Hamza's death on Wednesday, President Trump said simply: "I don't want to comment on that."
Osama bin Laden oversaw many atrocities as the leader of al Qaeda in the name of religious extremism. The U.S. turned its attention on him in 2001, as he was deemed responsible for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 in the U.S.
Osama bin Laden was killed in May of 2011 by U.S. Navy SEALs. The military experts raided his compound in Pakistan, where he was shot on sight. Hamza was not found in bin Laden's home, but letters seized there reportedly implied that he was being groomed to succeed his father in their extremist "war."0comments
In September of 2017, former FBI agent and counterterrorism expert, Ali Soufan wrote an article for the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, explaining how and why Hamza had become a figure of interest for the U.S. Military.
"Hamza is being prepared for a leadership role in the organization his father founded," Soufan wrote, adding that he was "likely to be perceived favorably by the jihadi rank-and-file. 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."