BAGHDAD, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Eleven Islamic State (IS) militants were killed Monday during an operation in Hawijah area in the western part of Iraq's Kirkuk province, a local police source told Xinhua.
A joint force from local police and paramilitary tribal fighters carried out a search campaign looking for IS militants in several villages in the rugged area of Zab in west of the town of Hawijah, which located some 230 km north of Baghdad, the source said on condition of anonymity.
"So far, the operation resulted in the killing of 11 IS militants and seizing large amounts of weapons, ammunition and explosives, along with destroying several IS hideouts and tunnels," the source said.
The operation will continue in the coming days until clearing the area from IS terrorists, the source added.
During the past few months, dozens of IS militants fled their former bases in Salahudin province and Hawijah area in the west of Kirkuk after the Iraqi forces cleared these areas during major anti-IS offensives.
However, remnants of IS militants resorted to hideouts near the rivers of Tigris and Zab, as well as Himreen mountainous areas to continue their almost daily attacks against civilians and Iraqi forces in nearby towns and villages.
On Dec. 9, 2017, 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.
Nevertheless, small groups and individuals of IS militants are still capable of carrying out attacks from time to time.