BAGHDAD, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi forces, backed by U.S.-led international coalition, clashed with the Islamic State (IS) militants and carried out airstrikes in northern and western Iraq, destroying 10 IS hideouts and killing at least five extremist militants.
The Iraqi Defense Ministry said on Monday that the troops detonated more than 730 explosive devices in different areas, while Iraqi and coalition aircraft bombarded 10 IS hideouts as well as bombing a booby-trapped car.
Separately, the IS militants attacked an Iraqi army patrol which was conducting a clearing operation near Attshana Mountain in west of the city of Mosul, the capital of Iraq's northern province of Nineveh.
The Iraqi and coalition forces clashed with the attackers and carried out coordinated bombardments, destroying three tunnels used by the IS militants as hideouts and weapons caches, the statement said.
In western Iraq, Iraqi aircraft were attacked with small arms fire by the IS militants while conducting reconnaissance operation in Anbar province, pushing Iraqi forces in the area to fire back, leaving five of the extremist militants killed, the statement added.
The security situation in Iraq has been dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country late in 2017.
However, the IS militants have 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.