The White House said in a statement that Hamza bin Laden, a son of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and himself a notable figure in the militant group, was killed in a US counter terrorism operation.

The White House said the operation took place in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

"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," the statement said.

The 15th of Osama bin Laden's 20 children and a son of his third wife, Hamza, is thought to have been about 30 years old.

Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces at his compound in Pakistan in 2011.

US media reported in late July and early August, citing intelligence officials, that the younger Bin Laden had been killed sometime in the last two years in an operation that involved the United States.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed the death last month, saying it was "his understanding" that Bin Laden was dead, but President Donald Trump and other senior officials had not publicly confirmed the news.

Documents seized in the raid on the compound in Abbottabad suggested Hamza was being groomed as heir to the Al-Qaeda leadership.

In 2017, he was placed on the US terror blacklist, seen as a potent future figurehead for the group then led by Ayman al-Zawahiri.