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The U.S. has received intelligence that suggests Osama bin Laden’s son and potential successor, Hamza, is dead, NBC News reported Wednesday.
The three U.S. intelligence officials who spoke with NBC declined to share when, where, or how the younger bin Laden died, and would not say whether the U.S. was at all involved.
The news, if confirmed, would dispel fears widely-held in the intelligence community that Hamza bin Laden was poised to succeed his father as the spiritual and tactical leader of al-Qaeda’s global jihadist movement.
Born around 1989, Hamza bin Laden traveled with his father to Afghanistan in 1996 and appeared regularly in al-Qaeda propaganda videos. Hamza was not present when Navy Seals raided Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound in 2011 and killed Osama following a global manhunt that began after the al-Qaeda-orchestrated 9/11 attacks. But documents found on at the compound indicated that Osama bin Laden was grooming his son for a leadership role in the terror group.
In his last public statement, issued by al-Qaeda’s propaganda outlet in 2018, Hamza threatened Saudi Arabia and called on his followers to revolt against the regime over its ongoing cooperation with the U.S.
Citing Hamza’s status as a “an emerging al Qaeda leader” who “has threatened attacks against the United States and allies,” the State Department announced in February a $1 million reward for any information on his whereabouts.