BAGHDAD, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi paramilitary Hashd Shaabi artillery on Wednesday carried out cross-border shelling on positions of the Islamic State (IS) militants inside Syria, leaving a total of 43 militants killed or wounded.
"In a preemptive operation, the artillery carried out precise shelling on a hideout, where many IS militants were gathering, in al-Baghouz in Syria, killing or wounding more than 43 terrorists as well as destroying the terrorists' vehicles and fuel stores," Hashd Shaabi quoted Qasim Muslih, leader of Hashd Shaabi brigades in Iraq's western province of Anbar, as saying.
"The shelling came after receiving accurate intelligence reports indicating that the Daesh (IS group) militants were preparing for an attack on (Iraqi) security forces on the border between Iraq and Syria," Muslih said.
Earlier, the paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces, deployed near the Iraqi-Syrian border, have reinforced their presence near the border line with Syria after the IS seized late last year positions of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on the Syrian side near the border with Iraq.
The security situation in Iraq has been dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country in late 2017.
However, groups and individuals of extremist militants melted or regrouped in urban and rugged areas, and are carrying out attacks against the security forces and civilians despite operations from time to time to hunt them down.