Ankara: At least 34 militants of the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) were killed in a Turkish military operation in northern Iraq on Tuesday, according to a military statement. The Turkish security forces staged air strikes against PKK targets in Qandil Mountain in northern Iraq, leaving 34 rebels dead, read the statement released by the Turkish General Staff, Xinhua reported.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed on August 11 to continue military operations against the PKK until its disarmament. Turkish forces bombarded the PKK camps in northern Iraq last Thursday and Friday, killing 41 rebels.
Tensions between Turkish security forces and the PKK are increasing after an Islamic State (IS) suicide bombing on July 20 killed 32 people and injured 104 others in Suruc town in Sanliurfa province bordering Syria.
Turkey has detained over 1,300 individuals with suspected ties to the IS, the PKK and leftist groups, while the military has unleashed several rounds of air strikes on PKK posts in northern Iraq.
The son of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died in a suicide attack mission in the city of Homs in western Syria, according to the IS media al-Nashir News.
Posting the photograph of a young boy, purportedly Hudhayfah al-Badri, al-Baghdadi’s son, the outlet said he lost his life in an operation against the Russian forces deployed in Homs and the Syrian government forces, referred to as Nusayriyyah by IS.
“Hudhayfah al-Badri (may Allah accept him), the son of the Caliph (may Allah safeguard him), was killed in an inghimasi [suicide] operation against the Nusayriyyah and the Russians at the thermal power station in Homs Willayah,” the news outlet reported.
Inghimasi refers to suicide operations in which a fighter, clad with explosive belt and armed with regular weapons, attacks an enemy position before detonating himself to inflict as much damage on the enemy as possible.
The U.S. military said it has seen the reports of al-Badri’s death but declined any confirmation.
“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on an attack on forces outside the Coalition. We have nothing more to provide,” U.S. Central Command told VOA.
An Iraqi national, al-Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim Awad al-Badri, announced the Islamic State caliphate in the city of Mosul in June 2014 and made himself its caliph. The leader has since become the world’s most wanted man, with a $25 million bounty on his head.
Al-Baghdadi’s fate is still unknown, with various reports claiming his death and injury several times, including a claim by the Russian Defense Ministry that he might have been hit by a Russian airstrike in 2017.
Those claims have been rejected by U.S. officials and the whereabouts of the elusive leader remain unknown.
Al-Baghdadi’s infamous role in IS has put a spotlight on his family. In March 2014, al-Baghdadi’s wife, Sujidah al-Dulaimi, was released, along with her two sons and daughter, in exchange for 13 nuns taken captive by al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front militants.