Hamza bin Laden, the son of Osama bin Laden who was believed to be the heir to his leadership of Al Qaeda, was killed in an air strike, US officials told The New York Times.
Hamza bin Laden, who repeatedly threatened to attack the US after his father was killed by Navy SEALs, is believed to have been killed in the last two years.
Details on the strike are unclear but US officials told The Times that the US “played a role in the operation.”
Bin Laden is believed to have been killed before the State Department announced a $1 million reward for information about his location in February. American officials were unable to confirm his death at that point.
Reported killing a ‘symbolic victory’:
Though bin Laden is a “prominent name,” The Times reported, his death represented a “symbolic victory” since Al Qaeda has not carried out a high-profile attack in the West in years and he had not yet taken control of the group.
Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent who investigated Al Qaeda also warned that it was “unusual” for the group not to announce that bin Laden had been killed and “celebrate him as a martyr,” The Times reported.
Bin Laden was being ‘groomed’ for Al Qaeda role:
Bin Laden was introduced by Al Qaeda in 2015 and the group regularly released messages carrying his threats against the US, though the messages stopped “months ago,” according to The Times.
“They were building him up to potentially be the No. 1 someday; he was not thought of as the heir apparent today,” Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the outlet.