TIKRIT, Iraq, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- A policeman was killed and two others wounded Tuesday in a roadside bomb attack at a volatile area in Iraq's central province of Salahudin, a police source said.
The attack occurred in Mteibijah area, some 100 km southeast of Salahudin's provincial capital Tikrit, when a roadside bomb planted outside an abandoned house went off near a police patrol and destroyed one of its vehicles, leaving a policeman killed and two others injured, Major Amir al-Jubouri, a police officer from Salahudin province told Xinhua.
The attack occurred while the policemen have been conducting a search operation in the rugged area of Mteibijah, which has long been a redoubt of Islamic State (IS) militants despite repeated anti-IS military operations in the sprawling rugged areas in the eastern part of Salahudin province and extend to the neighboring Diyala province and the nearby Himreen mountainous area.
During the past few months, dozens of IS militants fled their former bases in the key cities of the predominately Sunni Arab province of Salahudin, including the provincial capital Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, after the Iraqi forces cleared these areas during major anti-IS offensives.
On Dec. 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 and individuals of IS militants melted in urban areas or resorted to deserts and rugged areas in many areas in Iraq looking for safe havens. They are still capable of carrying out attacks from time to time against the security forces and civilians.