President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that Hamza bin Laden, son of Osama bin Laden, had been killed.
“Hamza bin Ladin, the high-ranking al-Qa’ida member and son of Usama bin Ladin, was killed in a United States counter-terrorism operation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region,” Trump said in a statement.
“The loss of Hamza bin Ladin not only deprives al-Qa’ida of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father, but undermines important operational activities of the group,” the statement continued. “Hamza bin Ladin was responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups.”
No additional details were provided, nor was a time period given for when the counter-terrorism operation was said to have occurred. CNN reported on July 31 that bin Laden was presumed dead. At that time, a U.S. official told the outlet that the government had information confirming bin Laden’s death.
The New York Times reported at the time that two U.S. officials said the government had a role in bin Laden’s death, but would not explain what that role was. From the Times:
Mr. bin Laden was killed sometime during the first two years of the Trump administration, officials said. He was killed before the State Department announced a $1 million reward for information about his whereabouts in February, but American military and intelligence agencies had not confirmed his death by then.
Though Mr. bin Laden carried a prominent name and lineage, the news of his death represented more of a symbolic victory for the American government than the removal of a threat. Al Qaeda has not carried out a large-scale attack in years, and though Mr. bin Laden was being groomed to eventually take over the group, that time appeared to be well into the future.
Indeed, the U.S. placed a $1 million bounty on bin Laden earlier this year, after which, Saudi Arabia removed the son of Osama bin Laden’s citizenship. Fox News previously reported that the kingdom announced the removal of bin Laden’s citizenship the day after the U.S. put the bounty on his head.
“Saudia Arabia’s foreign ministry announced Friday that it was revoking the citizenship of Hamza bin Laden, son of the slain al-Qaeda leader responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Usama bin Laden,” Fox reported. “The move comes less than a day after the U.S. State Department’s Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program announced a $1 million reward for information leading to his whereabouts. The United Nations Security Council on Thursday also added Hamza to its designated sanctions list.”
Hamza was the only bin Laden to have his citizenship revoked, as other members of the bin Laden family “continue to hold prominent positions in Saudi society,” The Daily Wire’s Paul Bois previously reported.
The Times also reported that bin Laden wasn’t critical of the Islamic State, which began as an affiliate to al Qaeda – the terrorist organization founded by Hamza’s father Osama. “The tactic suggests that he was holding back so members of the Islamic State, which began as a Qaeda affiliate and shares its ideology but broke away from its control, might have eventually accepted him as leader in any future reunification,” the Times reported.