Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Abu Bakr al-BaghdadiReuters

The Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group announced on Tuesday that Hudhayfah al-Badri, son of the group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed during a battle in the Syrian city of Homs.

“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 group said in a statement. “Nusayriyyah” is a reference to Syria’s Alawite community.

The whereabouts of his father are still unknown. Reports in February said al-Baghdadi was still alive, but that injury and poor health had forced him to relinquish control of the terror group.

Other reports in recent years have provided conflicting information about Baghdadi's whereabouts and about whether he is even alive.

The Russian Defense Ministry said several months ago that the ISIS leader might have been among a group of ISIS members who were killed in a Russian air strike south of Raqqa, ISIS's de facto capital in Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights subsequently claimed it had "confirmed information" that Baghdadi has been killed, citing high-level ISIS commanders.

U.S. officials, however, have remained skeptical. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in late July he assumes that Baghdadi is still alive.

In September, ISIS released a recording of Baghdadi, presumably to refute reports of his death.

Iraq in May captured five senior ISIS officials as part of a three-month-long U.S.-Iraqi intelligence operation, including a top aide to al-Baghdadi.