BAQUBA, Iraq, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- A total of ten Islamic State (IS) militants were killed Friday in airstrikes on two IS safe houses at a rural area in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, an army commander said.
Iraqi helicopter gunships pounded two safe houses based on intelligence reports in Maytah area, some 120 km northeast of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, leaving ten IS militants killed, Lt. Gen. Mezhir al-Azzawi, commander of the security forces responsible for military operations in Diyala province, told Xinhua.
Maytah is part of the volatile al-Udhaim area in the northwestern part of Diyala province. The extremist IS group still use hideouts in the sprawling rugged areas that extend from western part of Diyala to Himreen mountainous area and nearby Mteibijah area in the neighboring Salahudin province.
Dozens of IS militants fled their former bases in Salahudin province and Hawijah area in west of Kirkuk after the Iraqi forces cleared these areas from the extremist militants during anti-IS offensives in the past few months.
On December 9, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi officially declared full liberation of Iraq from IS militants after Iraqi forces recaptured all the areas once seized by the extremist group.
However, small groups of IS militants resorted to deserts and rugged areas looking for safe havens but the security forces are hunting them down from time to time.