Hamza bin Laden, son of slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, was killed in a U.S. counter-terrorism operation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, President Donald Trump confirmed Saturday.
“The loss of Hamza bin Laden 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,” Trump said in a statement.
The junior bin Laden had been gaining popularity in his father’s al-Qaeda terrorist network.
In early August, NBC News broke the story, citing three anonymous government officials who would not specify where or when Hamza bin Laden died or if the U.S. had any role in his death. But The New York Times later reported that the U.S. had a role in his death, although what form it took remains unclear.
Trump did not disclose the timing of the operation.
“Hamza bin Laden was responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups,” said the statement.
Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011 in a covert operation carried out in Abbottabad, Pakistan at a compound where he was holed up.
Osama bin Laden claimed responsibility for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York’s Twin Towers as well as the attack that day on the Pentagon.
Those attacks were carried out using three passenger planes hijacked by al-Qaeda operatives. A fourth plane, bound for either the White House or the Capitol, crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after passengers attempted to retake it from the hijackers.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed that day, including citizens of roughly 77 countries.
Hamza bin Laden was designated a global terrorist by the U.S. in January 2017, prohibiting U.S. individuals from conducting transactions with him.
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