CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank said one thing is puzzling researchers who are closely tracking al Qaeda: "If Hamza bin Laden has indeed been dead for months, you would expect al Qaeda to have released some form of eulogy before today". The US government played a role in the operation, but it was not clear how, according to the officials, who discussed his death on the condition of anonymity.
"Since at least August 2015, he has released audio and video messages on the internet calling on his followers to launch attacks against the United States and its Wester allies, and he had threatened attacks against the United States in revenge for the May 2011 killing of his father by USA service members". Hamza bin Laden was killed sometime during the first two years of the Trump administration, the officials said.
Hamza has long vowed to avenge the death of Osama and initially fled to friendly Iran, but he reportedly eventually settled on the Afghanistan-Pakistan frontier.
The New York Times, citing two U.S. officials, said "the United States government had a role in the operation that killed the younger Mr. bin Laden, but it was not clear precisely what that role was". He was killed before the state department announced a $1 million reward for information on his whereabouts in February, but U.S. military and intelligence agencies had not confirmed his death by then. Hamza's last known public statement was released by Al-Qaeda's media arm in 2018. After the September 11, 2001, attacks, he and other members of al-Qaida fled to Iran, where they were detained.
But the proliferation of branches and associated jihadist groups in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere have underscored its potency. Hamza bin Laden is the 15th of about 20 children bin Laden's and son of his third wife.
"He was seen as a future leader who would unite the global jihad. Thus, if he is indeed dead, it will be a major blow to the movement", she said.
"They're very much in this fight and we need to continue to take the fight to them", he added.
"Hamza bin Laden is the son of deceased former AQ leader Osama bin Laden and is emerging as a leader in the AQ franchise. And Hamza bin Laden had those qualities", Yusufzai told AFP.
At his father's side in Afghanistan before the 9/11 attacks, Hamza learnt how to handle weapons, and ranted in his thin voice against Americans, Jews and "Crusaders" in videos uploaded online.
Al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden was tracked down and killed by U.S. special forces in his hiding place in Pakistan in 2011.
In a later message that year he called on Saudi youth to overthrow the kingdom's rulers, telling them to enlist in the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to gain battlefield experience.