Donald Trump: Osama bin Laden’s son killed in counter-terrorism operation

Sept. 14 (UPI) — President Donald Trump said Saturday that Hamza bin Laden, a high-ranking al-Qaida member and son of Osama bin Laden, was killed in a counter-terrorism operation.

The operation occurred in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region, Trump’s White House statement said.

“The loss of Hamza bin Laden not only deprives al-Qaida of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father, but undermines important operational activities of the group,” the statement said. “Hamza bin Laden was responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups.”

The statement did not say the time or date of his death, but confirms earlier reports he was killed.

He died sometime in the last two years, CNN, NBC News, ABC News reported.

A U.S. official told CNN on July 31 the United States had a role in his death.

Brett Bruen, former White House director of global engagements, told Fox News last month that the death of Osama bin Laden’s son would be a “big brand hit for extremists.”

“There may be others who take on leadership roles,” Bruen said. “It will be a long time, if ever, we see someone who can legitimately claim the legacy of a near-mythical figure like bin Laden. For those engaged in the long fight against extremism, this is a significant symbolic victory.”

Osama bin Laden, as the leader of al-Qaida, plotted the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. U.S. Navy SEALS killed him in a house raid in Abbotabad, Pakistan, in 2011.

Hamza bin Laden’s sermons were similar to ones his father gave in the 1980s and 1990s including ones on attacking the United States, Russia and Israel before they shifted in 2017 to endorse jihad in Syria.

His last known public statement was released by al-Qaida’s media outlet in May 2018.

Hamza bin Laden was married to the daughter of Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, an Egyptian charged for his role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa.