BAGHDAD, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi forces Sunday waged an operation to hunt down Islamic State (IS) militants east of Tikrit, the capital of Iraq's northern central province of Salahudin, a provincial security source said.
Acting on intelligence reports, a joint force from Iraqi police and paramilitary Hashd Shaabi brigades advanced in the rugged area, some 20 km east of Tikrit, to hunt down IS militants who are active in the area, Major Alaa al-Jubouri told Xinhua.
Up to 30 military vehicles and more than 200 Hashd Shaabi fighters are conducting a search campaign around the town of Dowr in east of Tikrit, after local residents claimed that the extremist militants had kidnapped and killed two people on Friday, Jubouri said.
Iraqi security forces have repeatedly carried out reconnaissance and surveillance operations in different areas in central Iraq to track the extremist IS militants and destroy their locations.
The security situation in Iraq has been dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the IS militants across the country late in 2017.
However, IS remnants have since regrouped in desert and rugged areas, carrying out attacks against security forces and civilians despite the military operations from time to time to hunt them down.