Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden, who was viewed as an eventual heir to the leadership of Al Qaeda and had repeatedly threatened to attack the United States, is dead, according to two American officials.
Details of the strike that killed him were scarce, including when and where. The United States government played a role in the operation, but it was not clear how, according to the officials, who discussed his death on the condition of anonymity because it involved sensitive operations and intelligence gathering.
Mr. bin Laden was killed sometime during the first two years of the Trump administration, officials said. He was killed before the State Department announced a $1 million reward for information about his whereabouts in February, but American military and intelligence agencies had not confirmed his death by then.
Though Mr. bin Laden carried a prominent name and lineage, the news of his death represented more of a symbolic victory for the American government than the removal of a threat. Al Qaeda has not carried out a large-scale attack in years, and though Mr. bin Laden was being groomed to eventually take over the group, that time appeared to be well into the future.After the 2011 death of Osama bin Laden in a SEAL Team 6 raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, two of his top lieutenants began preparing Hamza bin Laden for a top leadership role. He married a daughter of one of them and pledged to avenge his father’s death.
Mr. bin Laden was introduced as a voice of Al Qaeda in August 2015 as “a young lion to carry forth the cause.” The regular messages that Al Qaeda released from Mr. bin Laden stopped months ago, although an article attributed to him was published in May.
Mr. bin Laden was likely operating on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, said Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
While Mr. Joscelyn said he doubted that Mr. bin Laden was next in line to lead Al Qaeda, he said he had an important role, both in terms of ties to the Taliban and as a spokesman.
“They were building him up to potentially be the No. 1 someday; he was not thought of as the heir apparent today,” Mr. Joscelyn said.President Trump was asked on Wednesday about the death, first reported by NBC News, but he declined to comment.
The location of Mr. bin Laden had been the subject of public speculation. After the Sept. 11 attacks, he and other members of Al Qaeda fled to Iran, where they were detained. He was eventually allowed to leave Iran, then reportedly moved with his family to the Pakistan border region. At one point, intelligence showed that he had traveled to Syria in the past several years, former officials have said.
Dang, and Democrats were so looking forward to finding some issue on which to side with him against Trump.
Can we pass out candy to Omar and Tlaib?
He, like all that’s left of al Qaeda, lacked his father’s charisma.
Al Qaeda is nothing without a charismatic leader who can incite, Hitler-like, followers to their deaths.
No one is on the horizon to fill that bill.
@Meremortal: I’d suggest a big bag of cracklings.
@Meremortal: No doubt they consider this an impeachable offense.