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The U.S. Put a $1M Bounty on Osama bin Laden’s Son in February. He Was Already Dead.

Details about where, how, and when Hamza bin Laden died are still murky.

by David Gilbert
Aug 1 2019, 1:35pm

In February, the U.S. government offered a $1 million reward for information about the whereabouts of Hamza bin Laden, the eldest son of al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.

What they failed to mention was that Hamza bin Laden was already dead.

Multiple media outlets, including NBC, CNN and the New York Times, reported late Wednesday that Hamza bin Laden is dead, citing unnamed U.S. officials.

None of the outlets, however, were able to say when, where, or how he was killed.

The New York Times reported that he was killed in an airstrike that the U.S. took part in some time in the first two years of President Donald Trump’s administration.

READ: The U.S. just put a $1 million bounty on Osama bin Laden’s son

The officials said that bin Laden, who is thought to have been around 30 years old, was already dead when, in late February, the State Department's Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program posted a $1 million reward for information on his whereabouts. But at that time, his death had not been confirmed by the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies.

Hamza bin Laden was known to be a favorite of his father’s, and documents recovered after Osama bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs in 2011 showed Hamza was being groomed as a future leader of al Qaeda.

Very little is known for sure about his life. It is believed he was born in Saudi Arabia, before spending most of his childhood with his mother in Iran. A video found after his father’s death shows his marriage to the daughter of Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

READ: Trump says Taliban peace talks are “proceeding well.” Experts say latest deal is a surrender.

In August 2015, the younger bin Laden was introduced as “a young lion to carry forth the cause.” and he subsequently released multiple audio and video messages calling on followers to launch attacks on the U.S. and Western allies, threatening attacks against the U.S. to avenge the death of his father.

Those messages stopped months ago, but an article credited to him was published online in May.

“Hamza bin Laden was not targeted merely for being Osama bin Laden’s son,” Rita Katz, director of Site Intelligence Group and expert on al Qaeda, said on Twitter. “He was one of al Qaeda’s loudest voices calling for attacks in the West and giving directives. He, with al Qaeda’s help, was positioning himself to lead the global jihadi movement.”

Cover: In this image made from video broadcast by the Qatari-based satellite television station Al-Jazeera Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2001, a young boy, left, identified as Hamza bin Laden holds what the Taliban says is a piece of U.S. helicopter wreckage in Ghazni, Afghanistan on Monday, Nov. 5, 2001. The Qatar based broadcaster identified the boy as one of the sons of Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the Sept. 11, attacks on the United States. Boy at right is unidentified. Graphic at top right reads "Exclusiveto Al-Jazeera." At bottom right is the station's logo which reads "Al-Jazeera." (AP Photo/Al-Jazeera via APTN)

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