Osama Bin Laden's Son Hamza Bin Laden Killed In Presumed Air Strike — Was The U.S. Responsible?

He was expected to take over running al-Qaeda.

How Did Hamza bin Laden Die? New Details On The Death Of Osama Bin Laden's Son And Heir To His Regime Instagram

No one can forget the night in 2011 when then-President Barack Obama made an unscheduled national address to announce that Navy SEALs had conducted an operation that resulted in the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The internationally wanted terrorist had been in hiding ever since the 9/11 attacks on America. Obama, along with other members of his leadership team including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton watched from the situation room as SEALs stormed a compound in Pakistan and killed the infamous terrorist.


In the years since then, the US and other governments have hoped to take out the remaining leaders of the terrorist network. One of the primary targets has been Hamza bin Laden, Osama's son who was widely expected to take over as head of al-Qaeda. He has not been heard from since 2018 and now the US government is saying that he is dead. At the moment, the Pentagon believes he was killed in an air strike, though he was not the specific target of the operation. CBS reports that US intelligence bases their conclusion on intercepted conversations between al-Qaeda leaders where they discussed his death.


Who was Hamza bin Laden and how did he die? Read on for all the details. 

1. Osama bin Laden's death

It took almost 10 years to track down Osama bin Laden, the leader of the terrorist network behind the 9/11 attacks that killed thousands of Americans. He went into hiding, allegedly in Afghanistan or Pakistan, after the attacks and US forces spent the next decade trying to find him and bring him to justice. In May 2011, the Obama administration was able to isolate his location at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Once US intelligence confirmed where he was, a SEAL team was dispatched to the site with orders to eliminate bin Laden as a threat. CIA director Leon Panetta said at the time: "The authority here was to kill bin Laden. ... Obviously under the rules of engagement, if he in fact had thrown up his hands, surrendered and didn't appear to be representing any kind of threat, then they were to capture him. But, they had full authority to kill him." Bin Laden did not surrender and was killed in the ensuing firefight. His body was allegedly buried at sea.



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The President and cabinet watched the raid.

2. Hamza bin Laden

The elder bin Laden had multiple wives and may have fathered as many as 26 children, though the exact details of his personal life cannot be confirmed. His son Hamza bin Laden was probably 30-years-old in 2019. According to a profile of the terrorist leader's son written by Ali Soufan, a former F.B.I. agent, and published by the  Combating Terrorism Center at West Point: "Hamza bin Ladin was among his father’s favorite sons, and he has always been among the most consistently fervent of his siblings in his support for violent jihad. Now in his late 20s, Hamza is being prepared for a leadership role in the organization his father founded."



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The younger bin Laden was also a terrorist.

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3. Last known communications

Like his father, Hamza's movements are largely shrouded from view. According to a UN website, his last known public statement came in 2018. In January, he released a video on behalf of the terrorist network, "denouncing Saudi Arabia and calling for the overthrow of the monarchy in an effort to recruit viewers to Al-Qaida". Then in March 2018, he "issued a statement through Al-Qaida’s media outlet, citing the role of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, threatening Saudi Arabia and calling on the people of the Arabian Peninsula to revolt."



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He wanted to avenge his father's death.

4. Wanted on terror charges

In 2019, the US State Department posted a notice that they would pay $1 million for information leading to the whereabouts of Hamza bin Laden. In a tweet, the department said: "Hamza is son of Usama bin Laden and has threatened attacks against the United States and allies. Relocation possible." Officials indicated that Hamza had been threatening retaliation for the death of his father. 



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The US was offering rewards for information on his whereabouts.

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5. Announcement of his death

NBC broke the story that Hamza bin Laden was dead on July 31. Information about the story was scarce, with officials saying only that the terrorist leader was dead but sharing no information about the cause of death, where it had happened and whether the United States was involved. The normally boastful Donald Trump gave a muted response when asked about it saying only: "I don't want to comment on that." The New York Times claims that Hamza's death happened prior to the reward announcement, sometime after 2017 but the paper had no additional details. CBS News reported that US intelligence had overheard conversations between al Qaeda leaders wherein they said Hamza was dead and debating whether or not to release the information. US sources believe he was killed in an airstrike though he was not the primary target. 



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Hamza is now believed to be dead. 


6. Questions about what happened

In the hours following the announcement, some experts had questions about what really happened. Ali Soufan, who has written about Hamza told the New York Times that it is unusual for al Qaeda not to announce the death of a leader and call him a martyr for their cause. But Soufan says that is the government assessment is accurate, “it significantly damages Al Qaeda’s plans for moving to the second generation.” 

Al-Qaeda has not confirmed his death.


No further details have emerged about Hamza bin Laden or his alleged death. The Pentagon has not released any official statements at this time.

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.