BAQUBA, Iraq, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi aircraft on Monday carried out an airstrike against the Islamic State (IS) militants and killed five of them in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, while the security forces conducted an operation on IS-held areas in the province, a provincial security source said.
The five militants were killed when the Iraqi warplanes bombarded their vehicle in the village of Albu Awad near the provincial border with neighboring Salahudin province, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, a joint force from the Iraqi army, police and paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units launched an operation aimed at dislodging IS militants from the rural area near the town of Sa'diyah, some 120 km northeast of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, the source said.
The troops destroyed three IS hideouts and seized caches of weapons and ammunition in the area, the source added.
Also in the day, at least 12 families were forced to leave their homes in the village of Owj-Tapa, some 170 km northeast of Baghdad, after they received threats from IS militants who are active in the nearby area, while more families in the village are expected to leave in the coming days, the source said.
The extremist IS militants frequently attack the urban areas of the province using the orchards near the villages and the sprawling rugged area in northwestern Diyala, which also extends to the main IS redoubt in Mteibijah at the provincial border line with the neighboring Salahudin province.
Many blame the current chronic instability, cycle of violence, and the emergence of extremist groups, such as the IS, on the United States, which invaded and occupied Iraq in March 2003.