BAGHDAD, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces launched an operation against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq's western province of Anbar and killed 11 extremist militants, the Iraqi military said Thursday.
The Iraqi army and paramilitary tribal Sunni fighters advanced on two routes deep into the desert of Anbar province and attacked IS posts located some three kilometers outside the IS-held towns of Aana and Rawa, some 325 km west of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, the Joint Operations Command said in a statement.
During the two-day operation, the troops killed a total of 11 militants and captured two others, along with destroying a bomb-making site, car bomb, three booby-trapped motorcycles and detonated 22 roadside bombs, according to the statement.
The operation came as the Iraqi forces, including the predominantly Shiite Hashd Shaabi units and Sunni tribal fighters, are preparing to liberate the IS-held town of Tal Afar, some 70 km west of Mosul.
On July 10, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi officially declared Mosul's liberation from IS after nearly nine months of fierce fighting to dislodge the extremist militants from their last major stronghold in Iraq.
The Iraqi forces still have to wage more offensives to drive out IS militants from their redoubts in Hawijah in southwestern Kirkuk, the adjacent sprawling rugged areas in eastern Salahudin province, in addition to the remaining IS strongholds in the border towns with Syria, including Aana, Rawa, and al-Qaim in the western province of Anbar province.