BAGHDAD, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- Islamic State (IS) militants Friday kidnapped a total of eight civilians in two incidents in Iraq's western province of Anbar, a provincial police source said.
In one incident, five civilians went in the early morning to the desert near the town of Rawa, some 280 km northwest of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, to collect truffles, but they did not return home, Major Ali al-Dulaimi, from Anbar Operation Command, told Xinhua.
The security forces investigated the incident and announced that the five were kidnapped by a group of IS militants, al-Dulaimi said.
In a separate incident, the extremist IS militants kidnapped three villagers as they went to collect truffles at a desert near the town of Haditha, some 200 km northwest of Baghdad, al-Dulaimi said.
Al-Dulaimi said that IS militants are still active in the vast Anbar desert that stretches to the border with Syria, warning the residents from going into desert areas far from the presence of security forces.
"The incidents are not the first of its kind, Deash (IS group) militants had kidnapped and executed three civilians from Haditha two weeks ago, as they also went to collect truffles," al-Dulaimi said.
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, small groups and individuals of extremist militants melted or regrouped in urban or fled to 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.