BAGHDAD, March 1 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces on Friday found bodies of five civilians abducted by Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq's western province of Anbar, a local official said.
"The troops found bodies of five civilians riddled with bullets in their heads and bodies in the desert in southeast of the town of Rutba, some 280 km west of the provincial capital Ramadi," Imad al-Dulaimi, mayor of Rutba, told Xinhua.
The abducted victims are from the towns of Rutba and al-Nukhib, some 300 km southwest of Ramadi, al-Dulaimi added.
The IS militants are still active in the vast Anbar desert that stretches to the border with neighboring countries of Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, as many civilians have been kidnapped or killed by the extremist group recently.
The security situation in Iraq has been improved after Iraqi security forces declared they had fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country late in 2017.
However, IS remnants have since melted in urban areas or resorted to deserts and rugged areas, carrying out attacks against the security forces and civilians.