US believes Osama bin Laden's son Hamza is dead: Official

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The US officials gave no details, including when Hamza died or where.

Osama bin Laden's son Hamza, chosen heir to the leadership of Al Qaeda, has been killed, US media reported on Wednesday citing American officials.

NBC News said three US officials had confirmed they had information of Hamza bin Laden's death, but gave no details of the place or date.

The New York Times subsequently cited two US officials saying they had confirmation that he was killed during the last two years in an operation that involved the United States.

Questioned by reporters in the Oval Office, President Donald Trump did not confirm or deny the NBC report.

"I don't want to comment on it," he said.

Both reports suggested that bin Laden may have been killed well before the US State Department announced a $1 million bounty on his head in February 2019.

The 15th of Osama bin Laden's 20 children and a son of his third wife, Hamza, thought to be about 30 years old, was "emerging as a leader in the Al Qaeda franchise," the State Department said in announcing the reward.

Sometimes he had put out audio and video messages calling for attacks on the United States and other countries, especially to avenge his father's killing by US forces in Pakistan in May 2011, the department said.

Documents seized in the raid on his father's house in Abbottabad suggested Hamza was being groomed as heir to the Al Qaeda leadership.

US forces also found a video of the wedding of Hamza to the daughter of another senior Al Qaeda official that is believed to have taken place in Iran.

Hamza bin Laden's whereabouts have never been pinpointed. He was believed to have been under house arrest in Iran but reports suggest he also may have resided in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria.

The group behind the deadly September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Al Qaeda's prominence as a militant group has faded over the past decade in the shadow of the Daesh group.

But the proliferation of branches and associated militant groups in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere have underscored its continuing potency.

At his father's side in Afghanistan before the 9/11 attacks, Hamza learnt how to handle weapons, and ranted in his thin voice against Americans, Jews and "Crusaders" in videos uploaded online.

In 2016 Al Qaeda released a video message in which he urged Daesh and other militants in Syria to unite."

In 2017 he was placed on the US terrorist blacklist, seen as a potent future figurehead for the group then led by Osama bin Laden's former deputy Ayman Al Zawahiri.

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