IS media outlet says son of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed during military operation in Homs
A son of Islamic State (IS) group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed in the city of Homs in Syria, the group's news channel reported on Tuesday.
"Hudayfah al-Badri ... the son of the Caliph... was killed in an operation against the Nusayriyyah and the Russians at the thermal power station in Homs," the statement said. The word "Nusayriyyah" is a derogatory term used by IS to refer to Syria's Alawite community, the sect of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Pro-IS Twitter accounts circulated a supposed photo of Badri, showing a male in his early teens holding a machine gun.
IS militants swept across large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, declaring a so-called "caliphate" led by Baghdadi in areas they controlled.
In April, IS militants reaffirmed their loyalty to Baghdadi, in what was thought to be their first public pledge of allegiance since his “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria collapsed last year.
While the group continues to carry out attacks in both Syria and Iraq, Baghdadi’s situation has been unknown since the fall of Mosul and Raqqa, the IS strongholds in Iraq and Syria respectively.
He has frequently been reported killed or wounded.
However, a senior Iraqi official said in May that Baghdadi was still alive and moving between the remaining IS-held areas with a small group of followers.
Baghdadi's last message came in the form of an undated 46-minute audio recording, released via the al-Furqan news organisation in September, in which he urged followers across the world to wage attacks against the West and to keep fighting in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.