BAGHDAD, April 11 (Xinhua) -- The government-backed Hashd Shaabi fighters on Wednesday killed two Islamic State (IS) militants in eastern Iraq, thwarting an IS infiltration attempt from Syria into western Iraq.
Acting on intelligence information, two Hashd Shaabi brigades, backed by security forces, swept Wadi Janat area in the northeast of the Iraqi eastern province of Diyala, destroying an IS hideout and killing two militants, a Hashd Shaabi statement said.
Also on the day, a Hashd Shaabi force arrested two IS militants while they were planting a roadside bomb in Seniyah area in the west of the oil refinery town of Baiji, located some 40 km north of Salahudin's provincial capital Tikrit, the paramilitary group said in a separate statement.
In western Iraq, a Hashd Shaabi brigade foiled an infiltration attempt by IS militants late on Tuesday night in Tal Sfoug area near the border with Syria, when the paramilitary fighters fought a fierce clash with the IS militants who tried to exploit bad weather and dark to cross the border from Syria, a third statement said.
During the past few months, dozens of IS militants fled their former bases in the predominately Sunni Arab provinces of Diyala, Salahudin and Kirkuk, after the Iraqi forces carried out major anti-IS offensives to drive out the extremist militants from these areas.
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.
However, small groups and individuals of IS militants regrouped in the rugged areas and are carrying out attacks against the security forces and civilians despite operations from time to time to hunt them down.
The borderline between Iraq and Syria, which extends some 600 km in the west of the provinces of Nineveh and Anbar, has long been used by insurgent groups and IS militants for logistic support and to carry out cross-border attacks in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.