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Trump confirms death of al-Qaida heir Hamza bin Laden

AFP-JIJI

President Donald Trump on Saturday confirmed that Hamza bin Laden, the son and designated heir of al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden, was killed in a counterterrorism operation along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

“The loss of Hamza bin Laden not only deprives Al-Qaeda of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father, but undermines important operational activities of the group,” Trump said in a statement issued by the White House.

U.S. media reported in early August, citing intelligence officials, that the younger bin Laden had been killed sometime in the last two years in an operation that involved the United States.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed the death later last month, saying it was “his understanding” that bin Laden was dead, but Trump and other senior officials had not publicly confirmed the news.

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 a $1 million bounty on his head this February — perhaps after his actual demise.

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