The U.S. has reportedly obtained intelligence that the son of Osama bin Laden and potential heir to his terrorist empire, Hamza bin Laden, is dead.
It is unclear whether the U.S. played a role in Hamza bin Laden’s death or whether the death had been confirmed, according to NBC News, which reported the intelligence on Wednesday citing three U.S. officials.
No further details were provided about when, where or how Hamza bin Laden is thought to have died.
In March, the State Department put out at $1 million bounty for information leading to the capture of Hamza bin Laden, who is roughly age 30.
According to U.S. authorities, Hamza bin Laden carried forward the radial jihadist ambitions of his deceased father, who was the leader of Al-Qaeda and masterminded the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
Hamza bin Laden released audio and video messages on the Internet, calling on his followers to launch attacks against the United States and its Western allies, according to the Department of Justice.
He also threatened attacks against the U.S. in revenge for the May 2011 killing of his father by SEAL Team 6 inside a compound in Pakistan.
Hamza bin Laden’s last known public statement was released by Al-Qaeda’s media arm in 2018, in which he called for followers in Saudi Arabia to rise in revolt against the monarchy.
Hamza bin Laden is married to a daughter of Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, an Al-Qaeda senior leader who was indicted and charged by a federal grand jury in November 1998 for his role in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
A video of Hamza’s wedding was found in Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound and released by the CIA in 2017.
Letters seized from the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed indicate that he was grooming Hamza to replace him as leader of Al-Qaeda.
Hamza bin Laden is believed to have been born in 1989 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The location of Hamza bin Laden, sometimes dubbed the ‘crown prince of jihad’, has been the subject of speculation for years with reports of him living in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria and Iran.
Some believed that he spent years with his mother in Iran, despite Al-Qaeda’s strident denunciations of the Shiite branch of Islam that dominates the country.
Observers speculated that the clerical regime in Tehran kept him under house arrest as a way to maintain pressure on rival Saudi Arabia as well as on Al-Qaeda, dissuading the Sunni militants from attacking Iran.
On March 1, 2019, Saudi Arabia announced that it had revoked Hamza bin Laden’s citizenship, concurrent with the reward being announced by U.S. authorities.
At that time, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden exclusively told DailyMailTV that he believed Hamza bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan, protected by drug lords.
‘I’ve heard the Iranian thing, I’m not buying a lot of that. I think they did keep some Al-Qaeda guys in there just because the ‘enemy of my enemy is my friend,’ O’Neill said.
Rob O’Neill told DailyMailTV host Jesse Palmer: ‘I liked that the State Department put out $1 million reward even though I think he’s worth more than that. It’s a lot of money for someone that might turn him in – but $5 million is better. The more they offer, the more chances that someone’s going to turn him in.
‘It will come down to human intelligence – who saw him and where. You have to wade through the lies because a lot of people will say they saw him now, to try and get the money.’
Al-Qaeda’s September 11, 2001 attacks were the largest terrorist loss of life on U.S. soil, claiming the lives of 2,977 victims and sparked the U.S. intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan.
O’Neill was a member of SEAL Team 6 which stormed Osama bin Laden’s compound under cover of darkness in Abbottabad, Pakistan, almost eight years ago after a decade of work by multiple U.S. military intelligence agencies had pinpointed a concrete location.
He reacted to reports of Hamza bin Laden’s death on Twitter Wednesday, writing simply: ‘Told ya.’