On Saturday, Donald Trump confirmed the death of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden.
Hamza bin Laden was a high-profile member of the al Qaeda. In a statement released by the White House, Trump stated that bin Laden had been killed in a U.S. counterterrorism operation that took place near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The statement did not provide the date of bin Laden’s death.
“The loss of Hamza bin Ladin not only deprives al-Qaeda of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father but undermines important operational activities of the group. Hamza bin Ladin was responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups,” Trump said in the statement.
Reportedly rumors of bin Laden’s death began to surface earlier in the summer. News reports emerged earlier this summer indicating that bin Laden had died. Hamza bin Laden made his last public statement in 2018.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed bin Laden’s the death in late August, during a Fox News interview in which he stated that it was his “understanding” that bin Laden was dead.
“I don’t have the details on that. And if I did, I’m not sure how much I could share with you,” he added.
Bin Laden, was given a prominent role in the terrorist group because of the fame of his father, who masterminded the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Earlier this year the State Department offered a $1 million reward for information leading to his capture. It also labeled him as the “emerging leader” of the al Qaeda.
Bin Laden was married to the daughter of a senior leader in al Qaeda who was charged by a federal grand jury for his role in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa. Intelligence seized from Osama bin Laden’s hiding place in Pakistan after the raid that killed him suggested his son was being groomed to eventually head the terrorist group.
In his last public statement, Hamza bin Laden made threats to Saudi Arabia and a call to revolution. The video was reportedly made in 2018. He was believed to have been in his early 30s.
Trump’s statement confirming bin Laden’s death comes just days after the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Though al Qaeda has been decimated in Afghanistan since the U.S. invasion in 2001, officials estimate there is still a small number of fighters, who remain loyal to the terrorist group.
Recent peace talks with the Taliban to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan crumbled, with Trump calling negotiations “dead” after a Taliban attack that killed 12, including a U.S. soldier.