A son of slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Hamza bin Laden, who was a notable figure in the militant group, was killed in a U.S. counter-terrorism operation, the White House has finally confirmed on Saturday.
A White House statement said the operation took place in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
“The loss of Hamza bin Ladin not only deprives al-Qa’ida of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father, but undermines important operational activities of the group,” the statement said.
Hamza, believed to be about 30 years old, was at his father’s side in Afghanistan before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
He also spent time with his father in Pakistan after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan pushed much of al Qaeda’s senior leadership there, according to the Brookings Institution.
The U.S. State Department designated Hamza a global terrorist in 2017 after he called for acts of terrorism in Western capitals and threatened to take revenge against the United States for killing his father.
Reuters reported on July 31 that Hamza had been killed, citing a U.S. official with knowledge of the matter. But Saturday’s statement represents the first time the U.S. government has confirmed the operation.