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Hamza Bin Laden, the Son of Al-Qaeda Founder Osama Bin Laden, Is Reportedly Dead.

Hamza bin Laden, the son of al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, is reportedly dead.

Former Taliban fighters line up to hand over weapons to the Afghan government during a reintegration ceremony in the Ghor province on May 28, 2012. (Image Credit: U.S. Department of Defense/Lt. Joe Painter)
Former Taliban fighters line up to hand over weapons to the Afghan government during a reintegration ceremony in the Ghor province on May 28, 2012. (Image Credit: U.S. Department of Defense/Lt. Joe Painter)

Hamza bin Laden, the son of al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, is dead, reports MSNBC, citing several unnamed senior U.S. officials. According to The New York Times, the younger al-Qaeda figure was killed “in the past two years” in an operation in which the United States “had a role.”

Hamza is seen as the heir apparent to his father’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri. His death not only complicates al-Qaeda’s leadership plans after the eventual demise of the 68-year-old al-Zawahiri, but may also point toward some sort of a grand bargain emerging from the ongoing U.S.-Taliban negotiations heading into their final stretch.

Neither MSNBC nor The New York Times specify where and when Hamza bin Laden was killed, and by whom. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Hamza bin Laden was believed to be located in one of four countries: Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, or Syria.

The timing of the reports about Hamza bin Laden’s death is curious. Talks between the United States and the Afghan Taliban are set to resume this week, with both sides closing in on a deal. The Taliban have been allied with al-Qaeda for over two decades, though the transnational terror network has been a liability for the Afghan insurgent movement. The United States has demanded that the Taliban sever ties with al-Qaeda. At the same time, the Trump administration may also feel compelled to demonstrate to the American public that its impending withdrawal from Afghanistan will not come at the risk of the security of the United States.

Arif Rafiq is the editor of Globely News and host of The Pivot podcast. He's contributed to publications such as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the New Republic, and POLITICO Magazine, and has appeared on broadcast outlets such as Al Jazeera English, the BBC World Service, CNN International, and National Public Radio. Rafiq is also a non-resident fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC.

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