BAGHDAD, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces on Tuesday killed 13 Islamic State (IS) militants during an operation north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, a military statement said.
Early in the morning, a joint force from the Iraqi army, police and paramilitary Hashd Shaabi brigade launched an anti-IS operation in the areas of Dhraa Dijla, Tharthar Taqseem, Albu Jroub, Subaihat and Hadidi, west of the Samarra city, a Hashd Shaabi said in a brief statement.
A total of 13 extremist militants were killed, some IS hideouts were destroyed and caches of weapons and ammunition were seized, it said.
The operation will continue until defeating the last presence of IS militants, the statement said.
Earlier, hundreds of IS militants fled their former bases in the key cities of Salahudin province, including the provincial capital Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, after the Iraqi forces cleared these areas during major anti-IS offensives.
Late in 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, also the Commander-in-Chief of Iraqi forces, officially declared full liberation of Iraq from IS militants after Iraqi forces recaptured all the areas once seized by the extremist group.
However, remnants of IS militants melted in urban areas or resorted to deserts and rugged areas in central Iraq and are carrying out almost daily attacks against civilians and Iraqi forces.