The Islamic State says the son of its leader has been killed fighting Syrian government forces. The announcement of the death of the young son of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared on the group's social media accounts late Tuesday, reports the AP. It included a picture of a young boy carrying a rifle and identified him as Huthaifa al-Badri. The statement said he was an elite fighter, known as an "inghimasi," who was killed fighting Syrian and Russia troops in the central Homs province. It did not specify when he was killed. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the most recent ISIS operations in the area were in the first two weeks of June. Al-Baghdadi has been reported killed or wounded on a number of occasions but is widely believed to still be alive. Little is known about his family, but a woman and child said to be his wife and daughter were detained in Lebanon in 2014.
ISIS has been driven from nearly all the territory it once controlled in Syria and Iraq, though it still maintains a presence in the Syrian desert and remote areas along the border. The Observatory said late Tuesday that one of the group's last pockets in the eastern Syrian province of Deir el-Zour came under intense shelling from the US-led coalition. At least 12 militants are believed to have been killed in Hajin. Separately, the Observatory said at least 11 displaced Syrians fleeing the fighting in southwestern Syria were killed when they stepped on a land mine. The two-week long offensive has so far displaced up to 330,000 people, including some 60,000 at the sealed border with Jordan, the UN said Tuesday. "The situation of internally displaced people at the Jordanian border is precarious, aggravated by dusty desert winds and high temperatures," UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.
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