Officials confirmed to The New York Times that the younger bin Laden was killed in the past two years, but that it took time to confirm his death. The United States reportedly had a role in the killing, though details of the death are still unknown, according to the Times.
NBC first reported the news earlier Wednesday that the US had obtained intelligence that bin Laden is dead, though President Donald Trump declined to comment to the network whether the information is true.
Bin Laden’s exact date of birth has been disputed, but The Associated Press said most put it in 1989, a time when his father, Osama, was already forming al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden moved to Afghanistan in 1996 and declared war against the US, and sometimes had Hamza appear in al Qaeda propaganda videos.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks carried out in the US by al Qaeda, Hamza bin Laden and other members fled to Iran, where other al Qaeda leaders hid them in safe houses. In April 2003, Iranian intelligence officials detained as many al Qaeda members as they could, according to the AP. Since then, bin Laden had been reported to be in the Afghanistan and Pakistan border region, and in Syria, the Times reported.
The last known public statement from bin Laden was a video released last year by al Qaeda’s media arm denouncing Saudi Arabia and calling on people in the Arabian peninsula to overthrow the monarchy.
In February, the United Nations Security Council listed bin Laden as being associated with al Qaeda, and the State Department announced a $1 million reward for information on his location. Bin Laden likely had already been killed by then, though his death was not confirmed at the time by military and intelligence officials.
Osama bin Laden died in 2011 in a US Navy SEAL team raid in Pakistan, which led two of his top lieutenants to begin grooming Hamza bin Laden to take his father’s place, the Times reported.