New Delhi: Hamza bin Laden, viewed as an eventual heir to the leadership of Al Qaeda after the death of his father Osama bin Laden, who plotted the 2001 attacks in the US, has been killed, according to news reports on Thursday.
Hamza, who had repeatedly threatened to attack the US, was killed sometime in the past two years, a report in the New York Times said. He was killed before the State Department announced a $1-million reward for information about his whereabouts in February, the report said, adding, the US military and intelligence agencies had not confirmed his death at the time.
Details of the strike that killed him were scarce, including when and where, the report said. The US government played a role in the operation, but details were not made public, the report quoted unidentified officials as saying.
Asked by reporters on Wednesday whether the US had intelligence that Hamza was dead, President Donald Trump said, "I don't want to comment on that," a National Public Radio report said.
Hamza was one of Osama bin Laden’s 20 children, another report said adding he was believed to have been born in 1989.
In a significant comment, the New York Times report said that the news of Hamza’s death represented more of a symbolic victory for the US government than the removal of a threat. The Al Qaeda has not carried out a large-scale attack in years, but the US government still considers it a threat and has grouped it along with the Islamic State — believed to have originated as an Al Qaeda affiliate — for the level of danger that it poses for the US. According to the New York Times report, Hamza never criticized the Islamic State in his public speeches, leaving a door open for possible reunification, the report quoted a former Federal Bureau of Investigation official as saying.
Hamza’s father, Osama bin Laden, was killed in a US special forces raid on a safe house in Pakistan’s Abbottabad town in 2011.