3 IS militants killed in airstrike in central Iraq

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-07 16:23:43|Editor: xuxin
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BAGHDAD, March 7 (Xinhua) -- At least three Islamic State (IS) militants were killed Thursday in an airstrike on their position in a rugged area in Iraq's northern central province of Salahudin, the Iraqi military said.

"Acting on intelligence reports, Iraqi helicopter gunships pounded at dawn a position of the terrorist Daesh (IS group) near the rugged Mteibijah area, some 100 km southeast of Salahudin's provincial capital Tikrit," Imad al-Zeheiri, commander of Samarra Operations Command in the province, said in a statement.

The bombardment destroyed the IS position, where the three militants were hiding, along with their nearby vehicle, al-Zeheiri said.

Iraqi security forces repeatedly carried out operations to take control of Mteibijah area from IS militants, but the vast rugged land and nearby Himreen mountainous area have made it difficult for them to completely clear the area of the extremist militants.

In December 2017, Iraq declared full liberation of its territories from the IS after security forces and Hashd Shaabi, backed by an anti-IS international coalition, recaptured all areas once seized by the extremist group.

IS remnants, however, have since melted in urban areas or resorted to deserts and rugged areas as safe havens, carrying out guerilla attacks from time to time against security forces and civilians.