Hamza bin laden
Hamza bin LadenIANS

Hamza bin Laden, the son of late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and a high-ranking leader of the global terror network, was killed in a counter-terrorism operation in the Afghan-Pakistan region, the White House announced on Saturday.

"The loss of Hamza bin Ladin not only deprives al Qaeda of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father, but undermines important operational activities of the group," said a statement released by the White House. However, there were no details on when or how he was killed.

The 30-year-old Hamza, fifteenth of Osama bin Laden's 56 children, was responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups.

Reuters reported that an unnamed US official said Hamza was killed "months ago" and the US President Donald Trump was briefed at the time.

Propaganda Videos

Hamza, whose last known public statement was released by al Qaeda in 2018, appeared in the terror network's propaganda videos.

In 2017, the US State Department designated him as a terrorist. Earlier this year, the US government put a $1 million reward for locating Hamza, who had released audio and video messages calling for attacks on the US and other countries. UN member states froze his assets and imposed a travel ban on him, while Saudi Arabia revoked his citizenship.

The announcement of the death of Hamza bin Laden came three days after the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, due to which nearly 3,000 people were killed in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden oversaw operations against Western targets that culminated on September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. He was killed in a US special force raid on his Abbottabad residential compound in Pakistan in May 2011.

Letters seized from Abbottabad compound suggested that late Osama wanted his son to join him and was grooming him as a leader, according to media reports.

Experts had earlier suggested that Hamza had been hiding in either in remote mountainous areas of Afghanistan or Pakistan, but there was no official confirmation on his whereabouts.

Al Qaeda, which is currently lead by Ayman al Zawahiri, has been relatively quiet in recent years following the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).