BAGHDAD, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- At least two paramilitary Hashd Shaabi members were killed and another wounded Sunday in a clash with Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, a provincial security source said.
The clash erupted during an operation carried out by a Hashd Shaabi brigade to hunt down IS militants and destroy their hideouts in rugged areas in Diyala's provincial capital Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, Issa Hamid, from the provincial operations command, told Xinhua.
Later in the day, the Hashd Shaabi carried out a search operation in the area and found different kinds of weapons and explosives left by the extremist IS group as they fled the scene, Hamid said.
The Hashd Shaabi fighters found blood spots in the destroyed hideouts indicating that the extremist militants sustained casualties, Hamid added.
Despite repeated military operations in the Diyala province, remnants of IS militants are still hiding in some rugged areas near the border with Iran, and in the sprawling areas extending from the western part of the province to the Himreen mountain range in the north of the province.
Late in 2017, Iraq officially declared full liberation of its territories from IS militants after Iraqi forces recaptured all the areas once seized by the extremist group.
However, some IS groups and individuals regrouped in desert and rugged areas and are carrying out attacks against the security forces and civilians despite operations from time to time to hunt them down.