The grandson of Osama bin Laden - the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks in New York - has died aged 12, it has been claimed.

The child, named Osama after his grandfather who was shot dead by a US Navy Seal team in 2011, has been praised for his 'martyrdom' by his father Hamza Bin Laden, the heir to terror group al-Qaeda.

A letter written by Hamza has described his eldest son as a 'grandson of bravery', explaining that the child liked to play-act scenes of martyrdom, reports the Daily Mail.

The note, titled 'Letter From Sheikh Mujahid Hamza Bin Laden', was published by the Global Islamic Media Front, Al-Qaeda's propaganda arm, along with a picture of a young Osama.

"We console ourselves and you on the martyrdom on the hero cub... the grandson of bravery... our son Osama, may Allah have mercy on him," the note said.

While the note gave no details about how old the boy was or how he died, the Saudi news website Al Arabiya has stated that the boy was 12 and died of an illness, according to its sources.

According to the note, young Osama often play-acted scenes of martyrdom with other children, although where precisely the child lived is unknown.

In an audio message last November, Hamza bin Laden sent out a worldwide appeal to Muslims to perform terror attacks on the US for killing his father.

Hamza, now believed to be around 28, urged Muslims to "take revenge on the Americans, the murderers of the Shaykh [Osama bin Laden], specifically on those who participated in this heinous crime."

Hamza's appearance as an adult has only just been revealed after his wedding video was released by the CIA just a few days ago.

The video formed part of a stash of material found by US Navy Seals during their raid of the elder Osama's Pakistan compound in May 2011, leading to the death of the terrorist leader.

Prior to that, only childhood photos of Hamza had been released. It is believed that militants have not released pictures of Hamza as an adult in order to protect his identity.

Hamza has emerged as a threat in his own right in recent years as he has become a prominent member of al-Qaeda's terrorist organization.

He was officially designated as a terrorist by the US in January this year as the US State Department confirmed he had followed in his father's footsteps to join al-Qaeda.

Al-Qaeda leaders believe there is value in continuing to use the bin Laden name to help them stake their claim to be the legitimate harbingers of jihad in the Middle East.

The group and its Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al Nusra, have lost territory and fighters to ISIS in recent years as the latter organisation has grown in power and as al-Qaeda's key figures have been killed.

Featured Image Credit: PA

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