Baghdad: A total of six Islamic State (IS) militants were killed and seven of their hideouts destroyed in a two-week operation by security forces to chase the extremist militants in Iraq’s eastern province of Diyala, a provincial official said on Friday.
“The large-scale military operation, which was launched two weeks ago to track the militants of Daesh (IS group) in the area of the Hawdh al-Waqf, some 25 km northeast of the provincial capital Baquba, has ended today after completing all of its planned stages,” said Sadiq al-Husseini, head of security committee of the provincial council, told Xinhua.
The operation was carried out by the army, provincial elite police force of Rapid Response, paramilitary Hashd Shaabi and backed by the army’s helicopter gunships, al-Husseini said.
The troops also detonated 20 roadside bombs planted by IS militants and seized several caches of weapons and ammunition, he added.
Hawdh al-Waqf is an agricultural area and its 11 villages stretch in northeast of Baquba, which itself located about 65 km northeast of the Iraqi capital Baghdad. The extremist militants are holed up in the farms and orchards of the area, al-Husseini said.
Despite repeated military operations in the Diyala province, remnants of IS militants are still hiding in some rugged areas near the border with Iran, and in the sprawling areas extending from the western part of the province to the Himreen mountain range in north of Baquba.
The security situation in Iraq has been dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country late in 2017.
IS remnants, however, have since melted in urban areas or resorted to deserts and rugged areas as safe havens, carrying out guerilla attacks from time to time against security forces and civilians.