BAGHDAD, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces on Monday killed six would-be suicide bombers affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) militant group in an operation in Iraq's western province of Anbar, the Iraqi military said.
The Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), backed by the international coalition aircraft, carried out an operation against IS hideouts in the desert of Anbar, killing six IS militants wearing explosive belts, Yahya Rasoul, spokesman of a media team affiliated with the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, said in a brief statement.
"We are working hard to end the cross-border terrorist threat, and the cells (terrorist groups) in our territory," Rasoul added.
IS militants are still active in the vast Anbar desert which 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 in recent months.
The security situation in Iraq was dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country late in 2017.
IS remnants, however, have since melted in urban areas or resorted to deserts and rugged areas as safe havens, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians.