The Islamic State’s media channels have posted a graphic honoring the son of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (also known as Ibrahim ‘Awwad Ibrahim ‘Ali al-Badri) as a “martyr.”
According to the text on the image, Hudhayfah al-Badri “was killed in an inghimasi operation against the Nusayriyyah and the Russians at the thermal power station in” the Homs province. “Nusayriyyah” is a derogatory reference to Bashar al Assad’s regime and its Alawite supporters.
The graphic did not indicate when Hudhayfah al-Badri was allegedly killed. Assuming the picture is current, it does not appear that al-Badri was an adult at the time of his death.*
The so-called caliphate regularly claims “inghimasi” operations in Afghanistan, Syria and elsewhere. In general, inghimasis are well-trained guerrilla fighters who are prepared to die in battle. They are different from traditional suicide bombers in that they don’t detonate their explosive belts at the outset of the fight, but instead first battle their enemies with light arms or other weapons. They “immerse” themselves in the battle before they die, either as a result of detonating their explosive vests or at their enemies’ hands.
It is not unprecedented for the son of a major jihadist leader to die in battle, or in a self-sacrificial attack. In July 2017, for instance, Taliban-affiliated social media channels reported that the son of Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada had conducted a suicide bombing in Afghanistan. Hafiz Abdul Rahman, Akhundzada’s would-be heir, blew himself up in an operation targeting Afghan forces in Helmand province.
The Islamic State has repeatedly clashed with Syrian and Russian forces in Homs province and elsewhere. The two sides have fought for control of the ancient city of Palmyra (which has changed hands multiple times), natural gas fields, and military bases. The Islamic State also claimed to have downed a Russian helicopter near Palmyra.
More recently, the Islamic State has claimed a number of additional attacks on Syrian regime forces in Homs province, including near Palmyra.
On Apr. 19, the jihadists alleged that “multiple Nusayri [Assad regime] soldiers” were “killed and injured” during a raid on an “army barracks north of the Third Station east of Tadmur [Palmyra].” A “122mm field artillery cannon” was also purportedly destroyed during the attack, while the Islamic State’s men seized “a vehicle carrying a heavy machine gun and miscellaneous weapons and ammunition” as spoils from the operation. The raid was featured in the 128th edition of the Islamic State’s An Naba newsletter.
The Islamic State claimed another raid on the Assad regime’s positions east of Palmyra on May 23. The following day, the group produced a picture of the man — identified as Abu Muhammad al-Turkistani — who supposedly led the assault. Once again, the self-declared caliphate said that Assad’s forces suffered casualties, while their weaponry was either destroyed or seized.
Then, on June 17, the Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency reported that the jihadists had destroyed a regime vehicle loaded with ammunition, as well as tank, near the third station east of Palmyra. The tank was reportedly destroyed with a “guided missile.”
In addition to the fighting in Homs, the Islamic State has regularly fought against the Assad regime in eastern Syria and in southern Damascus in recent months.
The image used to commemorate Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s son is part of the Islamic State’s “Caravan of the Martyrs” series, which has featured the group’s fighters from all over the globe. Recent “Caravan of the Martyrs” images have honored a deceased jihadist from the Islamic State’s Khorasan “province,” which operates in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as a fighter from the Philippines (East Asia).
Two other images from the Islamic State’s “Caravan of the Martyrs” series:
*Note: The wording of this sentence was slightly modified after original publication.