The US government is expected to make an announcement shortly about Hamza bin Laden, the son of slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, a US official says amid reports he has died.
Earlier on Wednesday, NBC News cited three US officials as saying that the US had obtained intelligence that Hamza bin Laden is dead, saying they would not provide details of where or when he died, or whether the US played a role in his death.
Asked earlier if he had intelligence that bin Laden’s son had been killed, US President Donald Trump told reporters: “I don’t want to comment on it.”
Hamza, believed to be about 30 years old, was at his father’s side in Afghanistan before the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US and spent time with him in Pakistan after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan pushed much of al- Qaeda’s senior leadership there, according to the Brookings Institution.
Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces who raided his compound in Pakistan in 2011.
Hamza was thought to be under house arrest in Iran at the time, and documents recovered from the compound indicated that aides had been trying to reunite him with his father.
Introduced by al-Qaeda’s chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in an audio message in 2015, Hamza provides a younger voice for the group whose ageing leaders have struggled to inspire militants around the world galvanised by Islamic State, analysts say.
Hamza has called for acts of terrorism in Western capitals and threatened to take revenge against the US for his father’s killing, the US State Department said in 2017 when it designated him as a global terrorist.
He also threatened to target Americans abroad and urged Saudi tribes to unite with Yemen’s Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to fight against Saudi Arabia, it said.
In March, Saudi Arabia announced it had stripped Hamza bin Laden of his citizenship, saying the decision was made by a royal order in November, 2018.