BAGHDAD, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Two people were killed and another was kidnapped Saturday in two attacks by gunmen in the Iraqi provinces of Salahudin and Diyala, security sources said.
Early in the morning, the extremist Islamic State (IS) militants attacked the village of Uthiyah near the city of Shirqat, some 280 km north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, killing a villager and kidnapping another, wounding three others, Ahmed Yasin from Salahudin police command told Xinhua.
The attackers fled the scene as the security forces rushed to the area, Yasin said.
In Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, a policeman was shot dead by a sniper at a checkpoint near the provincial capital city of Baqubah, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The incident came despite a major offensive launched three days ago by the security forces, backed by Iraqi warplanes and helicopter gunships, to hunt down the extremist militants in the rugged area in the provinces of Diyala and Salahudin.
On June 30, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, also the commander-in-chief of Iraqi forces, pledged to hunt down IS militants across Iraq after recent attacks and abductions carried out by the terrorist group.
"We will chase the remaining cells of terrorism in their hideouts. We will kill them, and we will chase them everywhere, in the mountains and the desert," Abadi said.
The latest deterioration in security put the Iraqi security forces under strong criticism for failing to stop the repeated attacks by IS militants on security forces and civilians, as well as the kidnapping of dozens of people at fake checkpoints on a main road between Baghdad and Kirkuk.
On Dec. 9, 2017, Abadi officially declared full liberation of Iraq from the IS. However, small groups of IS militants have since regrouped in rugged areas, carrying out attacks against security forces and civilians from time to time.